06Jul

Nikhil Rathi has been announced as the new permanent chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, in succession to Andrew Bailey, who left the regulator in March to become Governor of the Bank of England. Mr Rathi is currently the CEO of London Stock Exchange plc.

Mr Rathi is expected to take up his post at the FCA sometime in the autumn, with Christopher Woolard continuing as interim CEO until then, before he is then expected to leave the FCA. In seven years at the FCA in senior roles, such as director of strategy and competition, Mr Woolard became the regulator’s self-styled ‘consumer champion’, but media reports suggested Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP was looking for a different skillset from the next FCA boss. It has been suggested that Mr Rathi has been preferred to Mr Woolard, reported to have been his principal rival for the permanent position, for two main reasons:

  • The Government was looking for someone who could spearhead genuine change at the FCA, as the regulator seeks to make better use of data to change the way it regulates firms
  • A candidate who was better placed to lead cooperation with international regulators in the post-Brexit world was preferred

At 40 years of age, Mr Rathi becomes the FCA’s youngest CEO and its first from a BAME background.

He has experience of the workings of the FCA having served on its Practitioner Panel and chaired its Markets Practitioner Panel. He has also worked as Director of International Development at the Stock Exchange; Director, Financial Services Group at HM Treasury; head of the Treasury’s financial stability unit during the 2008 financial crisis; and as private secretary to prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Mr Rathi will not receive any bonuses or benefits in the FCA role other than his basic salary and his pension.

Mr Rathi becomes CEO at a critical time, with the economy in dire straits in the midst of the Covid-19 slump. The exact nature of the way UK firms will trade with their European counterparts in the future remains very uncertain, and there has been much criticism of late of the apparent limits of FCA regulation, and the issues on which it has chosen not to intervene, with prominent news stories surrounding a min-bond firm and a well-known fund manager.

Mr Rathi said:

“I am honoured to be appointed Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority. I look forward to building on the strong legacy of Andrew Bailey and the exceptional leadership of Christopher Woolard and the FCA Executive team during the crisis. FCA colleagues can be very proud of their achievements in supporting consumers and the economy in all parts of the UK in recent months.

“In the years ahead, we will create together an even more diverse organisation, /supporting the recovery with a special focus on vulnerable consumers, embracing new technology, playing our part in tackling climate change, enforcing high standards and ensuring the UK is a thought leader in international regulatory discussions.”

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