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Advisers question Ceeney’s ‘gamekeeper turned poacher’ move to HSBC

Advisers have questioned whether senior regulatory figures should be able to move straight into private sector roles following Financial Ombudsman Service chief exec­utive Natalie Ceeney’s appointment by HSBC.

Ceeney has been appointed as head of customer standards at HSBC, and started at the bank on 3 February. She left the FOS in November.

She will sit on the UK executive committee and be responsible for improving customer service and complaint handling. She will also be tasked with developing the bank’s approach to conduct risk.

Your Mortgage Decisions director Dominik Lipnicki says: “Surely everyone can see through this. It appears you can get a senior role with either the FOS or the FCA, which then guarantees you a nice, big salary in the corporate world.

“It seems to be a question of gamekeeper becoming poacher and it looks really bad. I do not think the public want to see things like this. Perhaps there should be some clause in contracts with regulators that, once you leave, you cannot immediately go straight into the private sector.”

Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton says: “It would make sense for there to be a gardening leave period for people who exit the FCA or FOS to move into the private sector.

“It appears some of the bigger financial institutions feel as though, by hiring senior people from the FCA or FOS, they are insulating themselves to the kinds of complaints they have been facing.”

But Roxburgh Financial Management branch manager Garry Webb says: “If Ceeney is taking the ethos of a regulator into the structure of a bank, then it is good news. I hope this is a sign of banks trying to get in line with regulatory thinking.”


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I can’t understand this mentality at all.

    She has developed a set of skills throughout her career in regulation. She wants a new job.

    HSBC operate in a world in which they are regulated. They need someone with regulatory skills. There is someone who wants to join their company with the skill set that matches their requirements. They hire her. If she brings knowledge of how the regulator works or what they look out for then that’s an advantage of her skill set and it’s prudent of HSBC to hire someone who will help them meet their regulatory requirements.

    It’s no different to any other industry. For example: an IFA with lots of clients in Legal and General policies needs a new administrator and hires someone who used to work for L&G and has extensive experience of their back office. I don’t think anyone would then hold their hands up and shout about how this person had an unfair advantage in their new job because they have worked for Legal and General – it would be seen as a savvy move to employ someone with a useful skill set. The whole point of establishing a career for yourself is to build a skill set which makes you employable, and then utilise that skill set.

    Anyone who wants to use the ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ metaphor or claim that HSBC are using her to insulate against complaints can’t be totally serious. I know there is overarching view amongst advisers that ‘everything regulator does = corrupt and bad’. I do have sympathy for anti-regulator views at times being a paraplanner myself in a fairly large firm witnessing some of the poor decisions made, especially recently. However, the idea that the regulatory framework is set up in such a way that HSBC are now immune to regulatory intervention simply because they’ve hired Natalie Ceeney is unrealistic and those who honestly believe that this will really happen are buying far too heavily into the hyperbolic anti-regulator conspiracy theories which often fill these comments sections.

  2. Simon, i dont think many people have anything against other people progressing in life and changing jobs. The problem here is the, what appears to be, underhand manner in which this goes on. Did Ms Ceeney really hand in her notice on the 1st November last year thinking ‘i know I am being paid an enormous amount and have a fantastic pension, but you know what i am going to jack this all in and see what happens’ and then HSBC found out about this on the 2nd November and said ‘You know what we haven’t got, someone heading up our customer standards, just as well this person has just left their job isn’t it’.

    As to these companies attempting to ‘protect’ themselves from the regulators etc i think we only need to look at Mr Sants and see not only does this not happen but that the gamekeepers finally find out just how the poachers actually work! And they find that maybe, these people who have been telling them how wonderful they are for years, are really acting and dealing with people.

    I dont think this has anything to do with anyone not wanting to get on in life, it has more to do with these people getting these incredibly highly paid jobs (and mostly made up and new jobs) just because of who they are and who they used to work for. Maybe these large organisations should be looking at the private sector in the first instance and taking on people who are used to dealing with profit and loss and not just people used to dealing with budgets. At the end of the day anyone can spend a budget, but not every can balance a budget and make enough money to ensure they have more money to spend the next year, which is the big difference between the private and public sector. I dont think there will be such a big fuss when she moves onto her next position (possibly in 12 months or less?).

  3. HSBC need all the skills that they can afford pay for as well as those they think they can’t afford.

    All regulated firms have a lack of skills they don’t want to pay for, same goes for the regulators.

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