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FCA appoints new complaints commissioner

The FCA and the Bank of England have appointed Antony Townsend as complaints commissioner.

Townsend replaces Sir Anthony Holland, whose term as commissioner comes to an end on 30 April.

The commissioner is responsible for the conduct of the final stage of investigations into complaints relating to how the FCA and the Bank exercise their relevant functions. The role is independent of the regulator and the Bank.

Townsend was previously chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and chief executive of the General Dental Council.

He has also worked for the Home Office and as director of education and standards at the General Medical Council. He is currently chair of the UK and Ireland Regulatory Board of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley says: “The role of the commissioner is an important one and I welcome Antony to the role. I look forward to working with the new commissioner going forward to ensure that the system works for those who feel they have been treated unfairly by the regulators.”

Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Bailey says: “Independent challenge and scrutiny is crucially important for the health of the regulatory system. We are pleased Antony has been appointed as complaints commissioner and value the impartial judgement he will bring to the role.”

Townsend adds: “I am delighted to be taking up this role. It is essential people can have confidence in how the regulation of financial services is undertaken.”


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

  1. “Independent challenge and scrutiny is crucially important for the health of the regulatory system”

    As the FCA appointed him, they can hardly claim he is independent or impartial. The role is a sop to all those who have been treated badly by the FCA and, before them, the FSA.

    “It is essential people can have confidence in how the regulation of financial services is undertaken.”

    If it’s essential, the Complaints Commisioner would be appointed by an independent body. The overwhelming majority of complaints are rejected without any investigation.

  2. This is all a waste of time.

    Even if there was an appointed independent, the complaints commissioner has no authority over the FCA. And the FCA don’t have to take any recommendations on board even if they are 100% wrong. This is a FACT.

  3. “confidence in how the regulation of financial services is undertaken”?? People have neither respect for or confidence in how the regulation of financial services is undertaken, primarily because the regulator remains accountable to nobody for anything it does or how it does it. Its consultations are just hollow, token shams of constructive engagement with the industry. The outcomes of these “consultations” are a foregone conclusion before they’re published. Nothing is modified or moderated, none of the responses are ever published for all to see and to debate in open forum, whilst the likes of Sheila Nicoll merely state that the regulator has “taken them on board”. Quite what has been taken on board, in what way and what influence these responses from the industry have had on the regulator’s predetermined agenda are never explained. The natural conclusion is that the industry’s responses haven’t made a jot of difference.

    Andrew Tyrie said to Martin Wheatley that there’s a strong case for the FCA to reimburse intermediaries for the £118m we’ve been overcharged by the FSA over the past five years and look what he got in return ~ (metaphorically) a swift and unequivocal V sign. There was nothing whatsoever that AT could do about it and that was that. Why isn’t the TSC pressing for the creation of a Statutory Regulatory Oversight Committee with unassailable powers to say to the FCA: This is wrong and you aren’t going to do it or This is wrong and you’re going to have to undo it. And, by unassailable, I mean disciplinary and financial penalties for non-compliance.

    APFA is doing nothing towards the creation of a Statutory IROC and neither are the ABI, the PFS or anyone else. APFA agrees that the regulator should be more accountable but doesn’t have the spine to grasp the bull by the horns and embark on any sort of meaningful strategy, instead continuing with its impotent endeavours to achieve this by lobbying and convening endless meetings that achieve nothing. When will it wake up to the fact that these tactics are achieving NOTHING?

    The FCA bungled its release to the press of its plans to review the practices of closed book life companies and was then itself allowed to appoint the body charged with investigating this cock-up. Now it’s been allowed to appoint its own complaints commissioner. Whether or not Antony Townsend would have got the job if his appointment had been down to the TSC and/or to a quorum of representative industry trade bodies must, at the very least, be open to serious doubt. The whole thing stinks to high heaven of rampant cronyism.

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