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Opinion

Writs out for the lads

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Congratulations to Tim Herrington on his appointment as chairman of the UK Financial Services Authority's regulatory decisions committee. As head of the global asset management group at international law firm Clifford Chance, he undoubtedly has the technical expertise needed for his new role.

But a responsive regulator also needs to empathize with those it regulates. So it's good that Herrington knows from experience how some members of the financial services community spend their evenings.

On a foggy night in January 2002, a group of Clifford Chance's London partners hired a boat on the river Thames and entertained a party of journalists to dinner and drinks. The party continued at a pub until closing time, when John Potts, then head of CC's litigation practice, suggested a trip a West End

lap-dancing bar.

The jaunt was widely reported and Potts, who retired last year, had to apologize to the rest of the Clifford Chance partnership. No mention was made of the other partners who had been in the club, including Herrington, whose name stayed out of the news and whose discretion and ability to keep such controversy at arm's length will surely serve him well at the FSA.

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