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Sheila Nicoll to leave FSA

Nicoll Sheila FSA 480
FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll

FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll is leaving the regulator when it is replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority in April.

Nicoll joined the FSA in October 2007 from the Investment Management Association where she was deputy chief executive. She joined as director of the retail firms division, and replaced Dan Waters as head of retail and conduct policy in April 2009.

Nicoll has led some of the FSA’s flagship initiatives such as the RDR, the Mortgage Market Review, and the funding review of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. In her role as director of the retail firms division she spent two years supervising building societies, life insurers, general insurers and advisers during the financial crisis.

An FSA spokeswoman says Nicoll “has not accepted another role within financial services” at this stage. She says Nicoll will work with recently appointed director of policy, risk and research Chris Woolard to ensure a smooth transition when she leaves the regulator in April. Woolard joined the FSA earlier this month from Ofcom, where he was group director of content, international and regulatory development.

Nicoll says: “I have spent five challenging but fascinating years at the FSA, through what has arguably been one of the most dramatic periods of change the financial services industry has known. I have worked with a truly professional team and strongly believe some of the policies we have implemented will create lasting benefit for consumers.

“Having seen major policy initiatives such as the RDR through to implementation, I feel now is the right time for me to handover to those who will drive the FCA’s policy approach in the future. I will stay with the FSA until the changeover to ensure an orderly handover and then will explore fresh opportunities. I wish the FCA and its staff every success in driving forward the FCA’s objectives of ensuring a fair deal for consumers.”

FCA chief executive designate Martin Wheatley says: “I would like to thank Sheila sincerely for the contribution she has made to the foundation of the FCA and for the delivery of complex initiatives such as the RDR and MMR. On behalf of my executive team, I wish Sheila all the best.”


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There are 46 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. And which of the banks will she land at then……?!

  2. Goodness gracious! I am trying to think which of the architects of RDR are left to proudly witness the resounding success that they have all worked so hard to achieve over the last few years.

  3. This really is becoming a race for the exit isn’t it….

  4. And, what a mess she created. Still there’s always Barclays?

  5. Next headline:

    ‘Sheila Nicholl moves into office nextdoor to Sants at Barclays’.

    and just to cap it off;

    ‘Nicholls given peerage in new years honours list’.

  6. At least she gave RDR 22 days. Hector couldn’t even manage to get there.

    Which bank will she be moving to? And more importantly, what hugely astronomic and completely undeserved sum of money will she be paid as a thank you?

    Dame Sheila. Has aring don’t you think?

  7. Dum, dum dum, another one bites the dust.

  8. rats,,,,sinking ship – and an honour for the damage she has done no doubt

  9. From the article:

    “More to follow…”

    With luck, the lot of them.

  10. Steven Spielberg 23rd January 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Ive just taken her on in my new film as Shrek 5.

    It’ll be a winner.

  11. Jane Summerfield 23rd January 2013 at 4:29 pm

    It is an utter disgrace how these people are walking away from the mess they have created. A perfectly viable and successful section of business which was running with very few problems, destroyed by a few people who knew nothing, yet thought they knew better………

  12. totally agree with anon 4.29pm
    Dame Sheila ( its got a nice ring to it)
    I wonder what its cost us to fund her golden handshake?

    No not Barclays. My hunch is – she will replace Hester at the RBS. I off to the bookies!

  13. good riddance

  14. Why not wait a year to see the magnificent results of the RDR. Maybe she wanted to forego the massive bonus she will surely be entitled to at that point. The bonus to be fully explained in modern RDR fashion.

  15. There is nothing like a dame….

  16. Looking at her various involvements it seems that she has been a prime architect in virtually all of the most damaging decisions which will be impacting on financial services over the next few months and years. If (when) the wheels fall off and half the UK population is disenfranchised from any financial advice and those who can afford advice find themselves paying more (partly due to the massive increase in regulatory, compliance and compensation chasing activities), will she be taken to task – NO. She will already have received her golden goodbye and also her golden hello and be well on the road to F****** up something else on a grand scale.

  17. And for my next trick………

  18. Indeed, coming to a bank near you.

    I will miss her self-congratulatory pronouncements when fining companies and failing to notice her and her colleagues’ inadequacies.

    I think I should quote Macbeth:

    It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Her legacy RDR, MMR and FSCS funding. An orgy of expense and I doubt all but a handful of consumers will be any better off after it and many more worse. Shame.

  19. No, she was unsuitable AND offensive

  20. Excellent News!

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  21. Clearly she is going to LLoyds who are sacking 940 to help pave the way for her arriving
    Cannot afford her and 940 with real jobs!
    On a serious note-is there anyone left to appear before TSC to explain why they are all leaving
    Their departure and RDR are inextricably linked

  22. Now as many of you may know I am a supporter of the RDR process as I believed that the financial advice process did have to change fundamentally. We did have to become better qualified and we did have to break the link between advice charge and product charge. You could argue that the RDR process didn’t go far enough as it didn’t attack the excesses of fund managers but that’s a different story.

    Although I am a supporter of the RDR process I do think that Hector Sants and Sheila Nicoll have a lot to answer for as the process and implementation of RDR has been muddled and indeed their actual overall work in making financial services more secure and easy to understand for the consumer is woefully lacking.

    I hope that she will not be given a Queens award and I furthermore hope that the FSA and government come up with rules pretty quickly to stop heads of regulators walking into highly paid executive roles to profiteer from the rules that they have created.

    My betting on her new employer would be on Lloyds or Barclays as both have had investigations dropped or fines lowered!!!

    So come on politicians stop this particular gravy train.

  23. I do not think that she will be missed. She was one of the worst for ill-informed views and comments.

  24. Only really know for the Treasury Select Commitee questioning why she was smirking when being grilled with Mr Pants

  25. @ Peter Herd
    Although I am a supporter of the RDR process I do think that Hector Sants and Sheila Nicoll have a lot to answer for as the process and implementation of RDR has been muddled and indeed their actual overall work in making financial services more secure and easy to understand for the consumer is woefully lacking
    Why support such a load of codswallop Peter?
    It is like saying I support the death penalty, as long as no one actually dies.

  26. I am telling you she will replace Hester at the RBS.
    Get to the bookies.!!!
    “Dame Sheila Nicholl CEO RBS”

  27. Is she jumping or being pushed?

  28. Are people expected to believe the shiite she spouts?…no change there then…

  29. Anonymous | 23 Jan 2013 5:12 pm

    No, she was unsuitable AND offensive

    And, has three chins so its bad all round.

    Seriously, there have to be questions asked about why the main FSA executives are leaving at such great haste. Possibly they want to be anywhere but the FSA when the proverbial hits the fan and their despotic mess is seen in its full glory?

  30. Why are these people allowed to walk away before the job is finished? They should be contractually obliged to see through these projects and then held responsible when the proverbial hits the fan.

    What if a builder walked away after building a house to first floor stage, or a heart surgeon walked out of theater after opening your chest cavity……


  31. No surprise really. Without the ventriloquist what use is the dummy? Hector is long gone.

  32. Haven’t been on MM in 2013 – nothing particularly got me going – this did !!!

    She being one of the last RDR and loudest architects to jump must be very proud of her work.

    And to my old mucker Peter Herd – I notice a change in tone when compared to posts pre RDR along the lines of ‘FSA are great give em more powers’ (I could quote you but I cant be arsed) – have you only just worked out how these operators work ? its got nothing to do with RDR or regulation being good for clients – its not and never will be.

    Sorry to harp on but as I have said many times before – let the market decide not the regulator !! doing alright

    As far as this sorry woman is concerned what I think cant be printed !

  33. Well ? all said and done she is just another one to leave the huge pile of crap that is RDR and leave it for some-one else to clear up. I cant wait for the next headline to say she is to take up a well paid job in the city. She is just another vile toad like Sants, Smith, Cole etc etc etc

  34. I think the problem with these people in regulations is that they actually do believe they have done sterling work regardless of the devistation they leave behind for others to try to pick upi the pieces.

  35. So the woman who sat besides Hector Sants at the TSC and confirmed that a cull of IFAs of around 10-20% was acceptable and that consumer choice would be enhanced by the commission ban no longer wishes to take up another role in financial services having assisted in the decline of the IFA sector to levels which will soon become so depleted that trying to find an IFA who will be able to advise ordinary working families will be nigh on impossible.

    MayI respectfully suggest that she explore the opportunity of actually qualifying as an IFA, setting up in business and try to implement and work with the changes she and the other ne’er do wells who put this mess together have implemented without a care for our businesses, our clients or our ability to provide economically priced adviser services.

  36. Nicoll says: “I have spent five challenging but fascinating years at the FSA, through what has arguably been one of the most dramatic periods of change the financial services industry has known. I have worked with a truly professional team and strongly believe some of the policies we have implemented will create lasting benefit for consumers”
    So why not stay & see it through Shiela?
    If this is going to be the best thing since the invention of the wheel, why is everyone leaving?
    Surely they would want to stay and work in this new utopia of financial advise where there will be no more misselling, no more libor rigging, no more consumer detriment?
    Could it be that they should have abandoned the whole sorry mess earlier but were too afraid to lose face?
    The TSC should hold an immediate enquiry into why the architects of this whole fiasco are now jumping ship, into the arms of the big banks or the big 4.
    The whole thing is disgusting and clearly paves the way for the FCA to state “We are not responsible…. it was our predecessor.

  37. Can someone at MM do a FOI request and ask how many people who have left the FSA have then moved on to working in or as an IFA?

    Versus perhaps working for accountants, banks?

  38. Isn’t this the idiot who was told to take the smirk off her face by a member of the TSC?

    She’s had “5 challenging years” and given the industry and its clients a lifetime of challenging years.

    What a disgrace!

  39. She really looks as though she has thoroughly enjoyed lots of good lunches!

  40. RegulatorSaurusRex 25th January 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Dear Martin

    I have a list of people the FCA would benefit from having culled before the sign on the window is changed.

    Trouble is there wouldn’t be anybody left….

  41. Thank god this woman is leaving along with her sidekick Mr Sants. These two are both responsible for the abomination which is RDR. Miss Nicol was the one who when questioned by the treasury select committee about the jobs that would be lost through the implementation of RDR had a smirk on her face and replied ‘”unfortunately this is a result of RDR”. These people will go on to bigger and better things while the rest of us in the real world are left to pick up the pieces of this shambolic mess !

  42. All these comments have merit and encouraging the financial press to do an exposé is laudable but do you ever think getting these thing to happen is like peeing into the wind or conversing with the FSA?

  43. She really looks as though she has enjoyed more than a few good lunches – at others expense.

    I have nothing but contempt for her self-serving drivel. She is clearly delusional and deserves to be taken out and shot!

  44. Without wishing to attack the integrity or otherwise of Ms Nicoll, who blandly stated to the TSC that around 10-20% of IFAs will probably leave the industry in the first year of RDR, did she or any of her colleagues not consider the longer term consequences of RDR on the consumer being both unable to afford fee based advice, but also the effect on the industry’s ability to continue paying the ever increasing costs of regulation that the FSA has imposed and will no doubt be continued by the FCA. The costs of this ridiculous exercise in futility is horrendous, billions of OUR MONEY is being wasted on these changes, all without the consent or approval of the IFA sector and if AIFA did as reported to me in an email from the FSA wholly support the RDR, that organisation with its massive deficits needs to be put down for ever.

    There is no plan B if RDR fails to achieve its objectives of “better consumer outcomes” so we can either make it work for us and devil take those clients into the abyss of self investing and web based comparison sites if they cannot afford to pay us.

    There is also the unintended consequences of the loss of thousands of banking and provider jobs, the costs of changing over all the providers systems to cope with adviser charging and no doubt a reduction in the number of providers who are unable to make these changes pay and start to merge with other providers to obtain economies of scale for running costs, which in turn depletes consumer choice.

    These people who put this plan together must be made to stay in their jobs and make RDR workable or be fined for recklessly and negligently ruining our industry and our businesses.

    IFA businesses will in the next few years be no longer a saleable commodity and those of us who built up our practices so that we could retire on the proceeds of sale, have wasted decades of our lives serving our clients needs only to see the value of those client banks virtually disappear overnight.

    Who in their right minds would now pay for a financial practice which was founded on transactional basis with renewal and trail commissions as the main value of the practice?

    Those providers CEO and Network bosses who allowed these people to lead us into the dark unkown territory did not have the gumption to stand together and refused to implement these draconian changes in such a short time.

    What was wrong with consumers actually having a genuine choice of how they paid their adviser, fees or commission, surely someone could have sorted out a ceiling for commission based products so that consumers were not denied choice?

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