City shocked as watchdog Martin Wheatley quits Financial Conduct Authority

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Wheatley, who took command of the regulator after having run its equivalent in Hong Kong, will officially stand down on September 12.

But he has said he will stay on as an adviser until the end of next January to oversee the implementation of the Treasury-sponsored Fair and Effective Markets Review, which he co-chairs. He will also advise the FCA board during that time.

Tracey McDermott, who has been overseeing supervision, will take over as acting chief executive when he steps down. She will be the first female chief executive of a major financial regulator since Colette Bowe, who ran the old Personal Investment Authority. McDermott has overseen some of the regulator’s biggest disciplinary actions in her job of head of enforcement.

Wheatley (pictured) will continue to draw his full salary package, which ran to £610,000 during the watchdog’s most recent financial year, for the 12 months. He will also be entitled to a bonus for the six months or so for which he will continue to be employed.

His salary was topped up with a £92,000 bonus during that financial year. The FCA was born from the ashes of the old Financial Services Authority under a sweeping reform programme set in train by Chancellor George Osborne. The FSA had supervised both conduct and financial soundness, but Osborne broke it up, handing the latter back to the Bank of England.

Wheatley struck an uncompromising tone in his early days, saying that if supermarkets were run in the same way that banks were, they wouldn’t have any customers.

However, his copybook was blotted by the mishandling of an announcement of a review into millions of old life insurance policies that sparked a market panic after news of it appeared in  a newspaper interview with his former head of supervision Clive Adamson. A subsequent review sharply criticised the regulator although Wheatley did not emerge as badly from it as some of his colleagues.

He said: “I am incredibly proud of all we have achieved together in building the FCA over the last four years. I know that the organisation will build on  that strong start and work so that the financial services industry continues to thrive.”

FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones  said: “Martin has done an outstanding job as chief executive, setting up and leading the FCA over the last four years. We owe him a lot.”

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July 18, 2015 |
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