Two senior Treasury mandarins are in the running to replace Martin Wheatley at the helm of the FCA, Money Marketing understands.
Treasury second permanent secretary John Kingman and director general of financial services Charles Roxburgh are on the shortlist for the role, sources say.
Kingman was the first chief executive of UK Financial Investments, set up to run the Government’s holdings in banks following the financial crisis, while Roxburgh is currently co chairing the Financial Advice Market Review alongside interim FCA chief executive Tracey McDermott.
Prior to joining the civil service, Roxburgh spent more than 30 years in consultancy with McKinsey, while Kingman is a long-time civil servant who also spent two years at investment bank Rothschild.
Greg Medcraft, chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, has also been approached about the role, according to the Financial Times.
Lansons director Ralph Jackson says an appointment from the Treasury would raise eyebrows on two fronts. He says: “[Treasury economic secretary] Harriet Baldwin has talked about a global search for a successor but, if they find someone just around the corner in the Treasury, that doesn’t seem to be expansive in the way that has been talked about.
“The independence point would also invite scrutiny and you would have to wonder whether the Treasury could seriously put them forward without some sort of a cooling-off period between jobs.”
However, independent regulatory consultant Richard Hobbs says: “FCA policy decisions have always been the grandchildren of the democratic process. The public elects a sovereign parliament, which then decides which policy the government of the day will adopt, and a subset of that is regulatory action.
“It can never be too far away from that and the reality is that any regulator that strays too far from political will is making a big mistake.”
Informed Choice executive director Nick Bamford says he would rather see an appointment with more industry experience.
He says: “The FCA has always appeared to behave as if it was totally independent but I’m not sure how much independence it really has.
“I’m more concerned about getting someone with proper experience of the financial services sector and who has really worked in the market.”