According to a report in the Telegraph, Richards was the favourite among a number of top City executives to head up the FCA, but friends of Richards have said he is not interested in the job.
Richards recently led the Trade Associations Review, which is proposing that all key financial trade associations should join forces to create a super trade body. The review’s recommendations cover seven trade bodies including the Council of Mortgage Lenders and British Bankers’ Association. Members of the Building Societies Association and Finance Leasing Association have voted against taking part in the proposed integration.
Since the FCA’s former chief executive Martin Wheatley left his role last year, Tracey McDermott has been acting in the role on an interim basis and was tipped as one of the front runners to take the role on a permanent basis. However, earlier this month Chancellor George Osborne announced that she did not want the job in the long term.
Wheatley, infamous for his tough stance on banks, handed his notice in last year after Osborne refused to renew his role as adviser to the FCA’s board. Commenting on the departure, the Chancellor said Wheatley had done a ‘brilliant job’ but explained that different leadership was needed to take the organisation ‘to the next stage of its development’.
Remaining potential candidates for the role include Australian regulator Greg Medcraft and Swiss regulator Mark Branson. The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane and former secretary to the Treasury Sir Nicholas Macpherson are also rumoured to be in the running.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Paul Lynam, chief executive of Secure Trust Bank, said: “The FCA regulates a huge number of disparate financial services businesses. Filling such a role is invariably difficult.
“A lot of the businesses regulated serve UK consumers and SMEs. Personally I think a grizzled UK retail and corporate banker who knows all the tricks, who understands the regulatory environment and knows how insurance and investment markets work would be a good choice.”