Does Wheatley exit mean return to ‘business as usual’ for banks?


George Osborne has failed to end fears of a softened approach to the banking sector following the announcement of Martin Wheatley’s departure from the FCA, according to Treasury Committee member and Labour MP John Mann.

Osborne appeared in front of the committee on Tuesday and, pressed on Wheatley’s exit, denied that he had “sacked” the FCA boss.

He said: “I chose not to renew Mr Wheatley’s contract so I don’t accept the way you describe it, and I think he did a very good job in difficult circumstances, with the creation of this new consumer regulator.

“But for the FCA going forward, my judgement is that we can find new leadership to strengthen that institution so it is a powerful consumer champion.”

However, Mann says the Chancellor failed to answer his concerns about Wheatley’s exit.

He says: “I wasn’t reassured by what the Chancellor said to the Committee regarding the removal of Martin Wheatley.

“Actions speak louder than words and by sacking Mr Wheatley the Chancellor has signalled to the biggest banks that it’s back to business as usual.”

Mann has previously accused the Chancellor of being a “ten bob bully” in ending Wheatley’s tenure at the regulator.

In a statement issued no 17 July, when his departure was announced, Wheatley said: “George Osborne has sacked the regulator who fined the banks who broke laws and yet not one banker has been held accountable before the courts for their repeated wrong doing.”