New market watchdog head lacks experience - lawmakers

LONDON Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:01am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The head of Britain's new financial watchdog lacks adequate experience in the core role of protecting consumers and will need to demonstrate he will improve choice, British lawmakers said.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) formally starts in April as part of a shake up of supervision designed to plug gaps and failings highlighted by the financial crisis.

Britain is trying to draw a line under a litany of mis-selling scandals spanning two decades, covering home loans, pensions and more recently, loan insurance.

John Griffith-Jones, former Europe chairman of accounting firm KPMG KPMG.UL, will be the FCA's part-time non-executive chairman.

He was grilled by parliament's Treasury Select Committee late last year on his appointment and a report on the proceedings was published on Friday.

"His professional background lacks deep experience of some of the consumer-oriented conduct issues that will be a major part of the FCA's work," the report said.

The FCA's board must restore credibility to the conduct of regulation after the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is being scrapped, failed consumers, it added.

"The challenges that Mr Griffith-Jones faces should not be underestimated. He will need to demonstrate that he has grasped their scale," the report said.

The FCA has two core objectives: protecting consumers and ensuring there is enough choice in financial markets.

"We will expect the FCA to demonstrate that it is doing everything it can to make the authorisation of would-be new entrants to the banking sector as fast and straightforward as possible," the committee said.

FSA Managing Director Martin Wheatley will be chief executive of the FCA.

The FSA said the new watchdog is committed to demonstrating it is delivering on its objectives, including competition.

"The FSA is already conducting its first study, looking at how markets in general insurance products sold as 'add-ons' may weaken competition and drive poor consumer outcomes," the FSA said. It has also created an FCA executive post for developing the approach to competition.

(Reediting by David Holmes)

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Comments (1)
GarethWong wrote:
I would suggest the title of this article to be changed..

maybe John is comparatively but who has a lot of financial regulatory experiences?? and given the failure of credit crunch and lack of solution nor recognition/real identification of faults; surely new eyes are much better!??

(my short blog in June2012: Must listen, particular interesting insights from John Griffith-Jones Chair of KPMG, &+ my comments, re BBC – Global Business, Called To Account program )

and of course Martin Wheatley used to be CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission .. other than NYC, HKG could probably be the best training ground for London!??

please take that into consideration.

Challenge we have is that NO one country can legislate and regulate the world, even if UK regulate the best market, but if it is considered as too stringent or unreasonable (from the being regulated institutions point of view) it will still be ineffective… it is not easy!! glad it is not our job!!


Jan 18, 2013 12:40pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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