Chair of UK markets watchdog FCA to leave role a year early

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Financial markets watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said its chair Charles Randell is stepping down in spring 2022, a year before the end of his five-year term.


Randell became chair of the FCA and the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) boards in April 2018. He will not be moving to any other position, the FCA said.


The watchdog has faced criticism for ineffective regulation and supervision and for failing to protect consumers after a string of scandals in recent years.


Commenting on Randell’s departure, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “I want to thank Charles Randell for his work as chairman of both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Payment Systems Regulator during this important period.


“Charles has led both boards during the UK’s transition to our new position outside the EU, through the vital economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the important transition following Nikhil Rathi’s arrival as new CEO of the FCA.”


Nikhil Rathi, a former finance ministry official, was appointed as CEO of the FCA last autumn.


Randell said: “‘As the FCA prepares to implement its new wholesale, retail and data strategies under an established new executive, now is the right time for a new chair to carry on the close and continuous oversight of our transformation.”


The watchdog is undergoing an internal shake-up following criticism that it failed to effectively supervise and regulate the mini-bond issuer London Capital & Finance (LCF), whose collapse in 2019 led to losses of GBP237mln for 11,600 investors.


The FCA has also faced criticism for failing to intervene before the collapse of Neil Woodford’s GBP3.1bn Woodford Equity Income Fund, which was shut down in October 2019.


Recently, there was outrage that the FCA had paid its staff over GBP125mln in bonuses since 2016. A report in the Observer said the bonuses included up to GBP45mln for each for executive directors.


The report said Rathi is now proposing to scrap the bonuses, saying had “not been effective at driving individual or collective performance”.

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