Exclusive: HSBC Australia's General Counsel placed under supervision
10 August 2018
HSBC Australia's General Counsel, Bridget Powell, is not allowed to work without supervision, RollOnFriday has learned.
The Law Society directory of New South Wales specifies that Powell's Practising Certificate type is "Corporate Legal Practitioner (Supervised)
". Under Australia's Legal Profession Uniform Law, it means that HSBC Australia's General Counsel cannot provide legal advice, interpret law or draft legal documents unless she is monitored by another employee who holds a practising certificate. She can still do paralegal work.
Neither the Law Society, HSBC or Powell would explain why she has been placed under supervision, or for how long. Asked if it was for disciplinary reasons, a spokesman for the Law Society of NSW's Professional Standards Department said details were confidential unless they were published on the NSW Disciplinary Register. It contains no entries relating to Powell. There are other reasons why a qualified lawyer might be placed under supervision. Lawyers moving from one jurisdiction to another may be required to undergo a period of supervised practise. However this wouldn't appear to apply to Powell, who was admitted in New South Wales in 1999.
Powell was promoted from deputy GC to General Counsel in 2010, when she was also given a seat on HSBC's executive committee. But the bank refused to confirm whether Powell was still its GC, or whether she was still employed. After stonewalling RollOnFriday's enquiries for days, a spokesman for HSBC Australia said, "We have no comment to make on thi
||Bankers without lawyers.
Despite the bank's refusal to identify its General Counsel, a bizarre position for a company the size of HSBC to take, there are a few clues. Rani Mina, an HSBC Associate General Counsel based in London, has updated her LinkedIn profile. It now lists the former Mayer Brown partner's location as Sydney, and her new role as General Counsel for HSBC Australia. Powell, whose LinkedIn profile also identifies her job as General Counsel for HSBC Australia, did not respond to a request for comment.