Finance

FCA chief to City: Work with us, not against us

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has called on financial services professionals to work with the regulator to help it navigate a myriad of challenges including the pandemic and Brexit.

Nikhil Rathi, the regulator’s chief executive, told executives attending the annual City diner at Mansion House on 22 September that “profound forces” such as the Covid-19 crisis, the UK’s exit from the European trading bloc, technological change, and the drive to a greener economy were “transforming financial services and society”.

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“Each of these forces present their own challenges and opportunities,” he said. “Through open, timely dialogue, help us on this journey. Work with us to navigate the challenges.”

“Help us ensure the UK remains a magnet for the best talent with a financial services industry that leads the way on diversity and inclusion,” Rathi told the event. “Partner with us to seize the opportunities…and to help continue to fuel economic recovery, drive innovation that supports markets, and act as a shining beacon of high regulatory standards for financial centres around the world.”

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The call for collaboration comes amid a challenging first year for the watchdog’s new boss.

Under the leadership of Rathi since October 2020, the regulator has been navigating compliance headaches arising from both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

It is also tasked with getting back on track initiatives derailed by the pandemic, all while undergoing significant structural changes, as well as changes to its top ranks, as part of Rathi’s reform agenda.

Rathi has appointed six new hires to the FCA’s executive committee since taking on his post, leaving just three senior managers at that level who pre-date his tenure.

Financial Newsreported in early September that the volume of change at the watchdog has prompted bosses at the FCA to begin holding weekly morale-boosting meetings with employees, after its latest staff survey revealed mounting “confusion” and “anxiety” over Rathi’s plans.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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