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Deputy Bank of England head Andrew Bailey to lead Financial Conduct Authority

Published 26/01/2016

Andrew Bailey has been appointed head of City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority
Andrew Bailey has been appointed head of City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of England has been appointed as the new chief executive of the City watchdog.

Andrew Bailey, who is currently the head of the Bank's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), which oversees banking stability in the UK, will remain in his current post until a successor is found.

His move to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will see him leave the Bank after 30 years.

Earlier this month the FCA was forced to deny it had been ordered to drop its wide-ranging review into banking culture by the Government.

Critics have accused Chancellor George Osborne of urging the FCA to drop the probe in a bid to end so-called banker bashing.

Mr Bailey, who has been appointed for a five-year term, succeeds Martin Wheatley, the FCA's tough former boss, who left the organisation in September.

Last year Chancellor George Osborne called for a "new settlement" to end banker bashing and was widely reported to have ousted Mr Wheatley, raising concerns about political influence at the regulator.

The FCA's head of enforcement, Tracey McDermott, has been in charge on an interim basis since and was considered a front-runner to take the top job. But earlier this month she ruled herself out of the race to lead the body.

At the end of December the FCA dropped its probe into banking culture, set up in the wake of the billions banks paid out in fines over attempts to rig the Libor bank rate lending market.

The Chancellor and the Bank of England were both forced to deny they played any part in that decision.

Mr Osborne said: "Andrew Bailey is the outstanding candidate to be the next chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, and I am delighted that he has agreed to lead it.

"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."

Mr Bailey, who has been head of the PRA since April 2013, said he wanted to make the FCA "effective and successful".

He added: "The new system of financial regulation in the UK depends for its success on both conduct (FCA) and prudential (PRA) regulators achieving their objectives given by Parliament.

"Recent developments have shown that the most pressing issue in the system right now is the need for stable leadership at the FCA."

Mr Bailey, as head of the PRA since 2013, has had overall responsibility for the prudential regulation and supervision of around 1,700 UK banks, building societies and other financial services firms.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis he also oversaw the introduction of tighter rules on how much capital banks should hold against their loans in a bid to make them more stable.

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

"He has made the PRA a highly respected and effective regulator and built a team of exceptionally dedicated colleagues," he said.

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