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Senior politicians back calls for review of FCA boss Bailey

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  • 26/02/2020
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Senior politicians back calls for review of FCA boss Bailey
Prominent cross-party politicians have backed campaigner calls for a review of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) boss Andrew Bailey and his appointment as Bank of England governor.

 

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and chair of the Brexit Party Richard Tice are among those throwing support behind a damning report into the FCA under Bailey (pictured).

Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake and former Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable are also critical of Bailey’s role while at the FCA.

Bailey has been head of the FCA since 2016 and is due to succeed Mark Carney in the top job at the Bank of England next month.

The True and Fair campaign group, led by Gina Miller, claims the last four years, while Bailey has been at the helm of the FCA, “have seen a multiple pile-up of mis-selling scandals and incidents of regulatory failure”.

The collapse of peer-to-peer lender Lendy and Neil Woodford’s investment funds are among the cases referenced in a report by True and Fair.

The continued fallout from HBOS and Lloyds Banking Group failings during the financial crisis are also levelled as criticism towards Bailey.

Bailey’s FCA time ‘a disaster’

In a statement McDonnell said: “This report reinforces that we were right to call on the last chancellor on several occasions to postpone the installation of Andrew Bailey in office as governor until there had been an independent review of his role at the FCA.

“This report is pretty damning and confirms Labour’s proposal last year for a major reform of our overall regulatory system. Nothing short would risk further rip offs of honest investors.”

Writing on twitter, Tice said: “Delighted to agree with Gina Miller, who demands review of Andrew Bailey as Bank of England governor. His time at FCA was a disaster. No reward for failure.”

In the report, Gina and Alan Miller wrote: “The authors believe the evidence amassed in this report clearly demonstrates the requirement for an urgent review of Mr Bailey’s appointment, and whether he satisfies the mandatory requirements or several of the supplementary requirements for the appointment to governor of the Bank of England.

“Without such a review there is a serious threat to the reputation and perceived independence of the Bank of England – both nationally and internationally.

“These same concerns also relate to the appointment of Mr Bailey’s successor as chief executive officer of the FCA, in terms of the need for a candidate with unimpeachable pro-consumer credentials, and a track record of achieving positive outcomes in the best interests of consumers in the retail financial services, banking and insurance sectors.”

In the mortgage market the FCA has been criticised for promoting the growth of execution-only sales which it’s own research has found could increase consumer harm

 

FCA defends Bailey

In response to the report, the FCA issued a strongly worded statement dismissing the report.

A spokesman said: “‘We utterly reject these claims which contain numerous inaccuracies and are made with little understanding of the role of the FCA.

“We have disagreed with the Millers on numerous issues relating to the investment industry, and our oversight of it, over recent years and we note their previous calls on Andrew to resign. This is just another example.

“In fact through FCA interventions millions of people have benefited including the most vulnerable in society.

“This includes fundamentally reforming the consumer credit market by capping the costs of payday lending and rent-to-own, making the biggest changes to overdrafts in a generation and providing support for those in long-term credit card debt.

“We hold firms to account and where we find failures we take action, with the FCA fining firms nearly £5bn since 2013 and tens of billions of pounds being returned to customers through redress schemes.”

Christopher Woolard has been appointed interim chief executive of the FCA when Bailey departs.

He is currently the regulator’s executive director of strategy and competition.

 

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