Wheatley defends FCA’s revolving door into private sector

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FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley has defended the number of high profile staff who have left the regulator to join the private sector.

Following a keynote speech at the Lansons Future of Financial Services conference in London yesterday, Wheatley was asked for his view on FCA employees joining regulated firms.

He said it is beneficial for the FCA to recruit from the industry, and for staff to take their knowledge into the private sector.

Wheatley said: “We work in the middle of the financial environment in Canary Wharf and we recruit our people from the industry.

“We know that people have a career and will want to move on. Our approach is that when somebody is leaving to a role that creates a conflict, we remove the conflict immediately by moving them to other duties or placing them on gardening leave.

“But frankly I think if there was a situation where you didn’t have any interchange between the firms that are regulated and the regulator, we would have a much less rich understanding of the issues we are facing.”

He added: “There will occasionally be a move that people raise their eyebrows at, but that is a price worth paying for having the right expertise, and we hope people leave us with a good understanding of our expectations and take those back into the industry.”

In March, former FCA director of communications Zitah McMillan, who stepped down in the wake of the Davis review, took up a senior role at payday lender DFC Global Corp.

Other prominent departures include former FSA director of conduct policy Sheila Nicoll, who left the regulator in April 2013 and joined Ernst & Young as a senior adviser six months’ later.

Former FSA chief executive Sir Hector Sants joined Barclays in January 2013. In November of the same year, he stepped down after taking a leave of absence due to stress. He has since joined management consultancy Oliver Wyman.