Stephen Dawson leads a team primarily focused on all aspects of consumer finance and small- and medium-ticket asset finance and leasing. This includes a nationally recognised expertise in wholesale and retail motor finance, together with niche products such as pay-day lending, timeshare and shared equity schemes.
He has worked in the sector throughout his career and is a well-known personality, being a regular speaker at trade events and a trade press commentator.
Dawson approaches this technically challenging — and potentially intimidating — sector with a view to simplification and is known for his eye for detail.
He makes a point of getting to know clients personally, and is regarded by many of them as a definitive problem solver, unafraid to disagree with convention when coming up with value added solutions.
According to Chambers, Dawson is ‘highly knowledgeable’ and ‘a real professional who is approachable, straightforward and direct’. Legal 500 says he is ‘approachable and knowledgeable’.
Examples of recent work:
- He advised Northern Bank (part of Danish banking group Danske Bank) from start to finish in relation to all aspects of compliance with the new consumer credit regime. This covered all regulated consumer products. This includes credit cards, charge cards, personal loans, overdrafts, bridging and investment housing loans, together with all advertising and statementing requirements.
- He advised Santander Consumer (UK) in respect of all aspects of its compliance with the Consumer Credit Directive. This included all product design (hire purchase, conditional sale and motor loan), advertising, statementing and integration into the existing company IT infrastructure. This also included drafting a new employee car scheme for a major motor manufacturer on the basis that the existing scheme had become regulated by virtue of the changes brought in with the Consumer Credit Directive.
- He advised a major UK energy provider in relation to its participation in the UK government-sponsored Green New Deal, giving consumers access to ‘green’ technology so they could reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint.
- He and his team led the negotiations and drafting behind a 300m forward-flow debt-sale agreement (involving regulated motor finance agreements).
- He advised a major UK bank concerning litigation in connection with satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose disputes, more particularly the enforceability of exclusion clauses purporting to limit liability.
- He ran the legal project team supporting a major UK asset finance provider in respect of its launch into the asset finance market in the Republic of Ireland.
- He advised a very high-profile consumer finance provider in relation to its dispute with the ASA over the interpretation of the Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2010.