HM Treasury have this week announced the appointment of Andrew Bailey as the new permanent chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
His appointment in the top regulatory job comes around half a year after it was announced former FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley would be stepping down; a move believed by many to be driven by chancellor George Osborne.
Since September, the role has been filled on an interim basis by FCA director of supervision Tracey McDermott, who recently ruled herself out of the job on a permanent basis.
The new FCA CEO is currently the Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation at the Bank of England and also Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Regulation Authority.
He is expected to take up the new role with the FCA in July 2016.
Commenting on the appointment John Griffith-Jones, Chairman of the FCA said:
“I am delighted that Andrew has been appointed as the new Chief Executive.
“He brings unrivalled regulatory experience, a proven track record and an excellent reputation in the UK and internationally.
“Having been an FCA Board member since 2013 he has been fully engaged with all the regulatory issues that we have faced in recent years and in setting our strategy for the future.
“I look forward to working with Andrew. He has done a great job at the PRA and he will build on the work the FCA has done over the last three years as a strong, independent regulator.
“I would also like to thank Tracey McDermott for the excellent job she has been doing as the Acting CEO and for agreeing to remain in post until Andrew starts.”
Andrew Bailey’s appointment as the new head of the FCA is important because the regulator is UK’s most prominent financial consumer protection body.
The FCA is responsible for regulating the conduct of banks, insurance companies, mutual societies and financial advisers.
Current challenges for the FCA include addressing a perceived advice gap in the UK market; the inability for those people who want to work hard, do the right thing and get on in life but do not have significant wealth to get quality financial advice at a price they can afford.
The large cost burden of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is another major regulatory challenge, as this cost of regulation is being passed on indirectly to consumers, making advice less affordable than it could be if fewer firms failed.
We look forward to seeing in which direction Andrew Bailey takes the FCA now and what impact his appointment will have on effective regulation for consumer protection.