PwC Partner dressed as bishop chases down handbag thief

27 July 2018

A soon-to-be PwC Partner from Oxfordshire has made headlines after he apprehended a suspected handbag thief in London. However, it was not just the act of amateur heroics which garnered Max Livingstonee-Learmonth so much attention, as the fact that while he pursued the suspect, he was dressed in the robes of a bishop, and bidding to break a world record.

Many comic book heroes wear capes while committing themselves to battling crime, but the cumbersome cassock of a bishop is quite another matter. Despite this challenging attire, Max Livingstonee-Learmonth – who is set to become a Partner at Big Four firm PwC in October 2018 – managed to keep pace with a suspected thief amid the chaos of a 10 kilometre race. Catching up with the suspect on Tooley Street, London, Livingstone-Learmonth then pinned him to a wall with his bishop’s staff before two drinkers from a nearby pub helped hold the man down until police arrived.

As bizarre as it sounds, the bishop’s staff was an all-important factor, as by retaining it throughout the pursuit, the former Connect Group Strategy Director was able to remain in contention for a marathon charity effort. The I Move London Relay involves 2,500 runners, with teams taking it in turns to carry a baton over a combined distance of 4,000 miles. Through a heat-wave which has gripped the UK in recent weeks, groups between two and 50 are currently running each leg in 10km and 5km loops, in a continuous 30 day period in central London.

PwC Partner dressed as bishop chases down handbag thief

On top of his and his team’s efforts, Livingstone-Learmonth was also part of a bid to break the world record for the longest non-stop relay, which currently stands at 3,504.28 miles. Suddenly, Livingstone-Learmonth said, he noticed a woman falling over in a desperate bid to catch an alleged thief, before he intervened.

Commenting on the eventful race, he said, “A guy shouted, ‘Stop that man’, and it was just pure instinct to run after him. I caught up to him and pinned him to a wall with my crosier… I said, ‘It’s not your day if you’ve been run down by a bishop’. He was squirming and protesting his innocence but he was caught red-handed. He had dropped a lot of phones and wallets on the way.”

Seeing the funny side, he added, “I’m not religious but it does feel a bit like divine intervention that I was there.”

By retaining his holy staff – the team baton – during the chase, Livingstone-Learmonth kept his team in contention, not only for the record or for the race, but for the group’s charity efforts. Livingstone-Learmonth, his wife Sarah Dudgeon, and their friend Victoria Carter (dressed as a monk and a nun respectively) are running to raise money for the Running Charity, which works with young homeless people, and Sported, a community programme.

Carter and Livingstone-Learmonth regularly compete in races under the team name Religious About Running. They set a record last year for running the London Marathon dressed as a bishop, monk and nun, with a time of three hours, 21 minutes, 33 seconds.

Meanwhile, according to a spokesman from the Metropolitan Police, following the arrest, the 23-year-old man suspected of theft has since been released under investigation.

Related: PwC rides again, as June charity cycle tour begins.


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UK financial conduct watchdog stung by bullying allegations

07 March 2019

A freedom of information request has uncovered a drastic rise in the number of bullying allegations being reported by staff in one of the UK’s leading regulatory bodies. The Financial Conduct Authority has seen the number of bullying and harassment complaints lodged balloon from only two between 2009 and 2012 to 30 in the last three years.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is Britain’s non-bank financial markets regulatory authority which oversees the commercial ethics of some of the largest electronic trading firms in the world. The entity has been facing rising criticism in the last two years, having been pilloried by the leading members of the investment consulting market for its “inappropriate” recommendations for the future of the industry, which sources in the consulting world suggested were “based on misconceptions.”

However, it is not the FCA’s official activities which have become a cause for concern in 2019. Rather, it is its internal culture, with the watchdog having been rocked by a sharp rise in the number staff making accusations of bullying and harassment, which have prompted wider questions over the entity’s ability to stamp out misconduct in the City of London. Figures first reported by industry journal the Financial News revealed that FCA employees brought some 14 cases of bullying and harassment against the FCA last year.

UK financial conduct watchdog stung by bullying allegations

According to the report, all the incidents were investigated by the regulator, but only two people were fired and three were subject to disciplinary proceedings. The number of complaints was uncovered by a freedom of information request by Financial News, and represents a huge rise from the four reported incidences seen at the FCA in 2017. Since 2016, the figures showed that there had been a total of 30 such allegations lodged, meaning almost half came in 2018.

In the three years prior to this, meanwhile, just seven incidents were investigated, and beyond that a mere two cases of bullying and harassment were probed between 2009 and 2012. While the story could be a sign of “improved internal reporting”, as suggested by Maria Miller MP, the Chair of the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee, she has now called on the Treasury Select Committee to look into misconduct at the financial regulator.

As the phenomenon of the #MeToo movement has swept the globe, unveiling long backlogs of systemic abuse of employees in many industries, the financial and professional services sectors have been no exception. Late in 2018, it was revealed that the Big Four had been forced to fire a number of Partners in their UK wings related to inappropriate behaviour, while IT professional services firm Web Applications UK was condemned by social commentators and the press for alleged bullying in its recruitment process.