FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones has backed chief executive Martin Wheatley following a damning report into how the FCA handled its closed book review announcement.
Griffith-Jones says he and the board have “total confidence” in Wheatley.
Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis has been carrying out an independent inquiry into how the regulator announced its closed book review in March. The findings have been published today.
The report is critical of five senior members of staff, including Wheatley.
While it acknowledges that Wheatley was disadvantaged by the failure of other executives to escalate serious issues to him, it found he could have coordinated some aspects of the response quicker.
Speaking at a press briefing today, Griffith-Jones says: “I and my board have total confidence in Martin Wheatley. We think he has done a very good job indeed of getting the FCA up and running as a well-respected regulator over the past 18 months.
“Sure he was the chief executive and sure things didn’t go right, but that does not detract from Martin’s effectiveness as a chief executive.”
But he acknowledged the FCA’s reputation had “taken a knock” as a result of the failings.
Griffith-Jones says: “I can only apologise for what was clearly a bad mistake, but I do believe that you have to take what happened on what should have been a routine matter in perspective with the thousands of decisions that are taken in this building every day.”
He adds that the FCA will continue to have a relationship with the media and will not “go away and hide”.
He says: “We believe it is very important to continue to have a briefing relationship with the press. We represent 60 million consumers and 70,000 firms: it is simply not possible for us to be an effective regulator through face-to-face communication.
“We have this difficult job of working out how to be effective, which has to involve a degree of mass communication, without straying over this line of sensationalism or price sensitive information.
“It is inevitable there is a sense of judgment and risk in the myriad of decisions we make on when to speak and when not to speak.
“The one thing I would not want to happen as a result of this report is for the FCA to go away and hide.”