SRA rebuke for former City partner who put his arm around trainee in strip club

Present agency defends partner Peter Walmsley over incident a number of years in the past

A former City regulation agency partner has been publicly instructed off by the regulator for placing his arm around a trainee in a strip club a number of years in the past.

Peter Walmsley agreed to a rebuke from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), revealed yesterday, over the 2017 incident which occurred when working for Clyde & Co.

His present agency, insurance coverage specialists Horwich Farrelly, stated that Walmsley “deserved the chance to further his career”.

The SRA was investigating a “work-related event on 23 November 2017”, attended by Clyde & Co legal professionals and a few of their purchasers. After visiting “a number of bars” and shedding a number of the occasion, a bunch consisting of Walmsley, feminine trainee AB and 4 others moved on to a “venue that offered late night drinking”.

The bar turned out to have a sexual leisure licence and was staffed by “women wearing underwear” who provided personal dances in the again. The SRA resolution states that “neither Mr Walmsley nor AB realised the nature of the Club until prior to entry”.

AB was uncomfortable however felt that she ought to keep for a short while in order to not embarrass the purchasers. This discomfort was “compounded” by Walmsley, then 44, placing his arm around her waist whereas the 2 had been sitting collectively in a sales space.

The SRA discovered that this was accomplished “openly, and without any improper or sexual motivation” and that the partner was “unaware at the time of AB’s discomfort”.

Nevertheless it concluded that his “failure to have sufficient regard” for AB’s well-being had “caused her to experience discomfort and distress”. Walmsley admitted that he ought to have acted in a different way and that the incident amounted to misconduct.

The agreed sanction was a written rebuke, with the SRA saying that Walmsley’s “seniority and intoxication were aggravating factors”. Publishing the rebuke reasonably than issuing it in personal is a separate step, SRA sanctions steering says, however one Walmsley additionally agreed to.

Clyde & Co instructed Authorized Cheek that Walmsley had been sacked in October 2018 following complaints of inappropriate behaviour by two junior members of workers.

A spokesperson pointed to an announcement issued on the time of his dismissal:

“Clyde & Co is committed to a working environment that is inclusive, professional and respectful. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of behaviour and expect all of our partners and staff to act with integrity, maintain high ethical standards and respect local and global regulatory environments at all times. We do not tolerate inappropriate behaviour.”

The private damage specialist is now a partner at Horwich Farrelly, which has six places of work around the UK. The agency stated in an announcement:

“This incident occurred over 5 years in the past and Peter Walmsley now manages a really profitable crew at Horwich Farrelly. Throughout his time right here he has carried out with impeccable conduct and with the total assist of his crew and purchasers who had been made absolutely conscious of the details.

“Horwich Farrelly take issues of this nature very seriously and agree with the SRA findings that Peter should not have put himself or others in this position. The SRA have noted that there was absolutely no intent from Peter on the evening in question to attend a club of that nature, and there was no sexual or inappropriate motive or intent behind his actions.”

It continued: “Immediately after the event, and in the years since, Peter has shown that he has taken the matter extremely seriously and regrets the incident wholeheartedly. He has focused on his personal development to ensure he always puts the wellbeing of every team member first, in every situation. It is due to his constructive approach since the event that Horwich Farrelly believed he deserved the chance to further his career.”

Walmsley additionally agreed to pay £600 in prices.

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