A partner at BDB Pitmans has been fined after allowing two charitable trusts to use his firm’s client account as a bank.
Jonathan Brinsden accepted the £2000 fine from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in a regulatory settlement agreement. He will not face a disciplinary tribunal.
The conduct happened while he was at Bircham Dyson Bell, before it merged with Pitmans Law in 2018.
The agreement said he offered the use of the firm’s client account to conduct transactions for two charitable trusts while waiting for the clients’ bank accounts to be opened.
The amounts paid through the client account were $118,000 for one client and $280,000 for the other.
Mr Brinsden accepted that this was in breach of ban on providing banking facilities through a client account as there was no underlying legal transaction and it did not form part of the usual work of solicitors. In doing so, he damaged trust in the profession.
In mitigation, he said it was an isolated incident and that on reflection he made a mistake, which he did “purely out of convenience for the clients, owing to delays in establishing bank accounts for the clients”.
The SRA, which has a HQ based in Birmingham (pictured), said the agreed outcome was a proportionate outcome in the public interest and that there was no evidence of lasting harm to third parties or consumers.
Brinsden had said he understood the transactions fell outside the ban and were neither deliberate or reckless, saying they were “part of his acting for charitable clients in connection with traditional work undertaken by solicitors”.
He agreed to pay costs of £1,350.