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Day in the life Daniela Bowry-Blum

Daniela Bowry-Blum

Senior Specialist Counsel (Competition)
Santander UK
London, United Kingdom

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6.30 am

My alarm goes off. I try to meditate for 20 minutes twice a day, so I set my timer and knock out the initial round. After, I check my iPhone and respond to any urgent overnight emails. Senior stakeholders are often online as early as 5 a.m.

7.15 am

Shower, eat a quick breakfast of overnight oats, and leave the house. I recently planted flowers so I enjoy my coffee in the garden and admire the weekend’s handiwork.

7.45 am

The 25-minute tube journey brings me to the head office at Warren Street in central London. On the ride, I read daily press cuttings on the financial sector, as well as competition law updates. It’s crucial that I’m up-to-date with market developments.

8.15 am

In the office, I make more coffee and respond to emails. I have a 9 a.m. slot on the executive committee’s weekly meeting to update them on the bank’s competition law policy (i.e., the systems, controls, and education) in place to manage competition law risk. I quickly review my slides.

9.15 am

The session goes well and there is buy-in from the executive committee on what we are doing — a good result given the volume of risk management and regulatory requirements that the bank, as a duel regulated entity by the PRA and the FCA, has to absorb. I leave on a high.

9.30 am

The head of payments calls to flag a potential issue. We chat it through and agree to convene a call later today with internal stakeholders to figure out the issue and to agree on a course of action.

10.00 am

Brief the head of one of our core businesses on the merger control requirements around a potential joint venture. It’s important the business is aware of timing, structural, and commercial implications that merger control could have on deal feasibility before committing.

11.00 am

Respond to a couple of technical queries that have come in on proposed commercial arrangements. I get a steady stream of questions that are not only legally complicated but require me to get quickly up to speed on the relevant facts and business area — not easy when many of these areas are unfamiliar and complicated. The phone rings six times — not bad!

1.00 pm

It’s a glorious day and one of London’s most beautiful parks, Regent’s Park, is next to the office. I take a half-hour break to get some fresh air and admire the blossoms. I find that a 30-minute stroll is good for the soul and makes me more productive.

2.00 pm

The communications director chairs a meeting to talk through the strategy around one of the bank’s high profile projects. One of my favourite aspects of my role is seeing how the interplay between commercial, policy, and external engagement align to achieve the bank’s objectives.

3.00 pm

Videocon with Madrid. The compliance function in the Banco Santander group is reviewing management of competition law risk based on best practices in the United Kingdom. They are interested in the specifics of what we’ve been doing here. I resolve to learn Spanish because I go to Madrid and South America a few times a year for work.

4.00 pm

Our Embrace Network (LBGT+) has produced some branded eco coffee cups, and I have procured 12 for my team to support their two-cups-a-day coffee habit. The cups are unexpected and laughs greet their arrival. It’s a small gesture that will reduce waste and improve the environment.

4.30 pm

Call to discuss the payments issue identified earlier today.

5.00 pm

Respond to voicemails that have been left in the last couple of hours.

5.15 pm

When the day’s meetings are done, I usually sit down for a couple of hours to tackle email queries that have come in over the course of the day. Today is different. I head to Parliament to attend a panel discussion on Brexit by the chair of the UK Treasury Select Committee.

7.45 pm

It’s a friend’s birthday, so I head out for dinner in Soho. I rarely go out mid-week now that work is busy, making this a truly special occasion.

10.00 pm

Plan for a weekend in Lisbon for next month — I’ve earned it! Then back at it, responding to any urgent emails that have arrived.

11.00 pm

Bed after a long day.