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Is Andrew Bailey the right man to lead the FCA?


Bank of England deputy governor and Prudential Regulation Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey has been named as the new chief executive of the FCA.

Bailey, who has led the PRA for nearly three years, will succeed Tracey McDermott, who has been interim chief executive since Martin Wheatley stepped down in September.

He is expected to take up the position in July.

Pinsent Masons senior associate and former FSA lawyer Michael Ruck says he is not sure Bailey is the “obvious choice”.

He says: “I am not sure what the approach of the FCA will be now regarding its relationship with banks. There are likely to remain questions about this.”

King & Wood Mallesons partner Tim Dolan, who also worked for the FSA, says Bailey’s appointment is a potentially very strong one but the key will be retaining Tracey McDermott, who pulled out of the race to lead the regulator earlier this month.

RPC partner Simon Laird says Bailey’s appointment seems “a sensible choice”.

He says: “At the moment Osborne is trying to achieve a balance between banks and consumers.

“Bailey understands the industry, has got bank experience and is not viewed as being in the pocket of financial services, so he strikes that balance.”

Independent regulatory consultant Richard Hobbs says the heads of other regulators around the world, who had been tipped for the role, might have been scared of “the toxicity of the UK situation”.

He says: “The PRA also has a much stronger senior management than the FCA, so it could spare one person.”

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “I don’t think this is going to be a radical appointment. It is a safe pair of hands both from a Treasury and regulatory perspective. Bailey has been at the Bank of England for 30 years, meaning he is politically well connected and he will know where the wind is blowing.”

The FCA has also announced the appointment of four non-executive board members: former Treasury economic and financial secretary Ruth Kelly, Baroness Sarah Hogg, Bradley Fried from the Bank of England and Age UK group chief executive Tom Wright.



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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Does anyone really care anymore? It doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in. Sorry to be bitter, but come on, we’ve been here before – several times. The answer to the question is yes, no or maybe, depending on if you are an IFA, a banker, George Osborne etc. He will either be good (in somebody’s eyes) or he won’t. He’s in now and the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

  2. I really don’t know if Mr Bailey is or will turn out to be a good appointment (I’ve not heard anything bad about him), though (IMHO) top of his agenda should be for the FCA to prioritise appropriately how it allocates its resources (proportionate and appropriately targeted regulation ~ ring any bells?).

    No regulator can tackle everything effectively. Therefore, the FCA needs to concentrate on identifying and averting the really big train wrecks and motorway pile-ups (they’re the ones that constantly hit the headlines, after all) instead of constantly imposing ever greater amounts of red tape on the great majority of intermediaries who, by and large, are doing a good and honest job for their clients.

  3. A banking man, financial services is a lot more than just banking. He will be there to reinforce the governments position, and earn himself a golden goodby when he moves to one of the banks to retire. It will be interesting to see which way MPs vote next week on the 1st, when the no confidence vote in the FCA is proposed.

  4. We will have to keep our powder dry and see what he brings.

    He’s obviously intelligent but does he have common-sense?

    The historic problem has been a total lack of understanding as to how financial services works – the psychology of and requirements of consumers.

    Hopefully we won’t be bemoaning his appointment in a year or so.

  5. So no chance of an FCA review of Banks now then

  6. Well looking at this with a “glass half full” state of mind, then I believe he may do well, but I think he will need to get to grips the the Sant’s “old guard” first, they seem to have maneuvered themselves in key positions………he (Mr Bailey) may have the fortitude to stare them straight in the eye and show them the door and send them packing with nothing but the contents of their desk draws !!

  7. It doesn’t matter if he is the best person of the job or not. He is in and needs to get to grips with a completely not fit of purpose organisation that doesn’t know its arse from its elbow in the advice sector. I cannot speak for any other sector as advice is all I personally have ever been involved in. I hope gets rid of everyone of the Sants era and makes a clean start with new people who are not of the old style regulation mindset. Yes they need and should be tough on those who blazingly break the rules but they need to regulate sensibly and effectively and not just run round like headless chickens trying fine all round them after the events. For 30 years this has not worked, so why would it start to work now? “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get wheat you have always got”. Very wise words however the author’s name escapes me at the present time

  8. “Yes they need and should be tough on those who blazingly break the rules but they need to regulate sensibly and effectively and not just run round like headless chickens trying fine all round them after the events. For 30 years this has not worked, so why would it start to work now?”

    A cynic would say that the fines and the associated regulation create jobs for the boys and a steady income.

  9. Henry Ford.

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