Deep end start for new financial regulator

Some might consider Mr Bailey a reluctant captain, having been persuaded to jump ship from his position as head of the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, by chancellor George Osborne.

In a Financial Times online report, regulatory partner at Shearman & Sterling, Barney Reynolds, said:

“It’s a great moment to have someone with international stature take over at the helm,” said Barney Reynolds, a regulatory partner at Shearman & Sterling. “The FCA’s role going forward will change quite considerably, and it’s important to get the relationship with Europe right,” Mr Reynolds added.

Nodding to recent hand-wringing over the influence of the Treasury and BoE over the FCA, Paul Sharma warned: “[Mr Bailey] will have to concentrate on capital markets.”

The former colleague of Mr Bailey’s at the PRA, added:

“Whatever his plans on the consumer protection and retail side, I don’t think he will get much time to look at it. The exigencies of the moment will be pushing him in the direction that actually best fits his character and proficiency.”

The chancellor’s view of Mr Bailey as a ‘safe pair of hands’ is not without substance. The central banker was involved in the Northern Rock crisis and was instrumental in facilitating the circulation of a new currency in war-struck Iraq. He was selected as head of the PRA at the BoE to navigate the institution through regulatory changes on liquidity and bank capital.

Stand-out notes on Mr Bailey’s new ‘to do’ list include the need for fresh rules on tying senior City managers to account beds and finalising a compensation cut-off date for mis-sales on PPI. 

FCA chairman, John Griffith-Jones, said:

“We at the FCA will continue to do our day job. We will not be thanked for taking our eye off the ball, particularly with our responsibilities for day-to-day regulation of the markets. It will be a top priority for my board and Andrew Bailey as he starts work as our CEO to keep ourselves fully aligned with the ultimately chosen direction of travel.”

Mr Bailey will also have to address morale and staffing issues at the FCA, and has underlined in recent public addresses that conduct and culture must be nurtured in boardrooms across the City.