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Senior people moves at the FCA

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There have been a number of senior level changes at the FCA over recent months. Back in December 2014, around the same time as the publication of the Davis Review, the FCA announced its intention to make some changes to its internal structure. These took effect in April this year and the FCA has made a number of senior appointments since then.

HM Treasury’s final report in the Enforcement Review, also published last December (see here), found in summary that there was general support for retaining the FCA’s Regulatory Decisions Committee (RDC) and that the composition of the RDC drew together considerable experience in different areas of financial services. It noted, however, that there had been some criticism of the RDC from the Parliamentary Committee on Banking Standards (PCBS). The government rejected the PCBS’ call for a separate decision making committee to be established to hear ‘banking’ cases, but agreed with the PCBS that the chair of the RDC should have significant legal – if not judicial - experience.

Against that background, two recent changes at senior level are likely to be of particular interest to litigators:

  • The imminent arrival of Mark Steward as the FCA’s new Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, which the FCA announced back on 5 June (see here). It is understood that Mr Steward will be taking up his post at the FCA shortly. He arrives from his current position as Executive Director with responsibility for Enforcement at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, having previously worked in a similar senior position at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. I recall from my own time working in Hong Kong that Mr Steward had a reputation there for a fair but firm approach to enforcement, the HKSFC having achieved (amongst other things) its first successful prosecution of insider trading offences under his tenure.
  • The appointment of Tim Parkes as the new chair of the RDC with effect from January 2016. The FCA announced this appointment last Monday. Mr Parkes is a senior lawyer with extensive experience in private practice in both London and Hong Kong. He will be joined by two deputy RDC Chairs, Elizabeth France and John Hull.

Firms and practitioners in the London market will no doubt be keen observers of both Mr Steward’s programme and the RDC’s future activities under the chairmanship of Mr Parkes. It will be interesting to see over the coming months how these new appointments influence the FCA’s approach.


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