Ousted FCA head leaves with unfinished business

Martin Wheatley, former head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, said that he was disappointed to be moving on as he had unfinished business.

According to the Financial Times, this decision was made after the Treasury refused to renew his place on the regulator’s board and he was forced to leave his post as CEO. This announcement also came after chancellor George Osborne promised to recalibrate the bank levy with a new settlement. Osborne praised Wheatley for his work but highlighted that a transformation of the FCA was necessary.

At the FCA’s annual general meeting, Wheatley commented on how the attitude towards regulation has changed. “I am more convinced than ever that conduct is at the top of firms’ agendas and is no longer an afterthought,” Wheatley said. However, the unfinished business that he was referring to alluded to his co-authorship of the Fair and Effective Markets Review published in June, which is meant to improve wholesale markets after the Libor and forex scandals.

Wheatley added that he would like to be remembered positively. “I would like to be remembered for setting up a good, solid organisation. We have delivered a systemic shift in the UK in how people think about the financial sector,” said Wheatley, although the FT reports that he is worried about conduct being less of a priority post-financial crisis.

John Griffith-Jones, FCA chairman commended Wheatley for his work and said that the departure would not result in any significant changes. “Enforcement will be a prominent and appropriate feature of the regulator. What I would hope is that there will be fewer things of that nature – it will appear smoother because there are fewer incidents. That is in the ambit and province of firms,” Griffith-Jones said.