Business

Andrew Bailey is new boss of the FCA, the City watchdog

Andrew Bailey Image copyright Reuters

A senior figure at the Bank of England - Andrew Bailey - has been named as the permanent boss of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The FCA is the City watchdog and the UK's most prominent financial consumer protection body.

He has been appointed for five years and will start when a successor is appointed for his role as head of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

He succeeds Martin Wheatley, who left the organisation in September.

Tracey McDermott has been in charge on an interim basis since.

She ruled herself out of the permanent job in January.

'Honour'

Mr Bailey has been a key regulator, as the now-outgoing chief executive of the PRA which oversees the work of 1,700 banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.

"Although it had not been my intention to leave the PRA during my term as chief executive, a job that I enjoy enormously, it is a great honour to have been asked by the chancellor to take on the job of FCA chief executive," Mr Bailey said.

"After a lot of thought I have decided to move and do all that I can to make the FCA effective and successful."

Chancellor George Osborne has reportedly struggled to find a suitable candidate willing to fill the role.

Mr Osborne said: "We have cast the net far and wide for this crucial appointment and, having led the Bank of England's response to the financial crisis, Andrew is simply the most respected, most experienced and most qualified person in the world to do the job.

"The government is determined that the financial sector operates to the highest standards. Anyone who has dealt with Andrew knows he will be tough but fair, and understands the flaws and merits of the sector better than anyone."

Mr Bailey has worked at the Bank of England for 30 years.

"His work in helping to manage the crisis and then to develop the post-crisis regulatory framework has been exemplary," said Bank of England governor Mark Carney.


Three things you won't know about Andrew Bailey

  • Mr Bailey has a BA First Class Honours in History and PhD in Economic History from Queens' College, Cambridge
  • He has worked at the Bank of England since 1985
  • He was previously chief cashier, which meant his signature appeared on banknotes.

Change of stance?

Since Mr Wheatley was ousted as FCA boss by the chancellor in the summer, the regulator has proposed a time limit be set on payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation claims and signalled a lighter touch approach to its regulation of the City.

Mr Wheatley was originally hired as boss of the FCA because of his reputation as a tough global financial regulator.

But his habit of straight-talking led to accusations of banker-bashing by City grandees.

Since his departure from the regulator, a major investigation into banking culture, pay and practices was dropped.

The decision to ditch the investigation into banking culture, pay and practices was not received well by MPs when it was announced on New Year's Eve.

The FCA was later forced to deny the Treasury had been involved in the decision to drop the banking inquiry.

Ms McDermott pulled out of the race to permanently run the City watchdog earlier this month. She said she withdrew from the recruitment process for personal reasons.

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