City watchdog under attack for press leak

martin wheatley FCA

FCA chief Martin Wheatley is likely to find himself in the firing line today after a damning report is released on the regulator’s leak of sensitive information to the press.

The Davis report, which sources say is highly scathing about the FCA, concerns a media interview in which a colleague of Wheatley’s revealed confidential, price-sensitive data about life insurers that caused shares in leading UK firms to nosedive the following day. The disastrous briefing led Chancellor George Osborne to issue a stern reprimand earlier this year.

Although the report, penned by Simon Davis of the law firm Clifford Chance, is not expected to blame Wheatley personally for the leak, he is believed to be one of five senior executives singled out for criticism him over apparent mismanagement at the FCA. Several senior manages have, somewhat ironically, already had their bonuses cancelled; under Wheatley’s leadership, the organisation has issued billions of pounds’ worth of fines to financial institutions and played a significant role in getting bankers’ bonuses reduced.

Wheatley’s self-professed “shoot now, ask questions later” approach has made him a divisive figure at the FCA. In the last few days, communications director Zitah McMillan and the popular director of supervision Chive Adamson have both quit the organisation, with the latter rumoured to have resigned following ongoing disputes with Wheatley over his “confrontational” style. The organisation has announced an extensive shake up of their corporate structure.