Bell Yard was appointed to represent a senior banker facing an announcement of the FCA’s prosecution against him.
The banker was a former senior manager at Northern Rock who was investigated for alleged misreporting mortgage arrears in the months prior to the bank’s collapse in 2007.
He was fined and barred from working in a regulated financial services firm in one of the first successful prosecutions by the financial regulator of a UK banker for actions during the financial crisis.
Bell Yard worked with the client and his legal team to craft a suitable media statement to respond to the FCA announcement and acted as his press officers on this matter for a period after the FCA notice was published. Unusually for someone of his seniority in his field, the client wanted to publicly express his sadness at his error of judgment and to offer his deep regret. Yet it was important to emphasis to interested journalists that the misreporting of figures was not a direct cause of Northern Rock’s collapse.
Given the inevitable attention this announcement would attract, the client agreed to read his statement to camera personally for broadcasters and print media still photos, partly to face the music in line with his personal conviction, but also in an attempt to head off the inevitable doorstepping that he and his family might otherwise have experienced.
In the event, our client was not heavily demonized on a personal level in media reports. Inevitably, the headlines were not positive, but most commentators also looked at the wider issues and processes amiss at the bank rather than focusing solely on our client’s actions.