Financial Conduct Authority chief executive designate Martin Wheatley has continued his hardline rhetoric saying the regulator “has barely got started” on its crackdown on misconduct, as he signals a greater emphasis on individuals being held to account.
In an interview with The Independent, published today, Wheatley (pictured) told the newspaper: “We have barely got started.” He said those who believe the regulator is already too tough have a “big wake-up call coming.”
Wheatley directed most of his anger at the way banks treat their customers.
He said: “The truth is that if our supermarkets in this country, if John Lewis operated in a way that banks do, they would not have any customers.
“If companies were acting in a way that was thinking about the long-term interests of their customers then you would not need heavy-handed financial regulation.”
Wheatley described “a deep, dark period” for financial services between 2005 and 2008, from which many of today’s current scandals stem.
He said: “That was a horror period in terms of the way people were abused in their financial services. A lot of the things we are dealing with today – Libor, payment protection insurance, interest rate swaps, all of them go back to that period.”
Wheatley admitted fining firms to curb bad practice has not worked, as ultimately shareholders end up with the bill.
He said: “If there are failures in the future we want individuals held to account.” Wheatley plans to achieve this by forcing banks to assign personal responsibility for certain functions to individual bankers.
He added: “Society wants us not just to be ticking boxes, asking if people have been following the rules, but to be looking at outcomes and at what is going wrong and then taking action. That is what I have been brought in to do and that is what I will do.”