The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said goodbye to three senior officials amid a review and reorganisation of its strategy.
Director of supervision Clive Adamson’s departure has been confirmed by the British financial watchdog, while executive committee members Zitah McMillan and Victoria Raffe will also leave as part of its restructuring.
The FCA, which was set up in April 2013 to take over from previous regulator Financial Services Authority, announced it was setting out a new strategy to provide a “sharper focus” on how firms are regulated.
It said it had been influenced by “lessons learned” from external reviews of its operations.
Who are the candidates to take over from Adamson? Head of enforcement Tracey McDermott has fronted the watchdog’s high-profile punishments of misbehaving banks, including the £1.1bn fine handed out to five banks for their role in a foreign exchange rigging scandal.
The departure of the long-serving Adamson, who had been with the FCA for seven years, has been met with dismay by some of the City’s most senior insurance executives who felt he was tough but fair in the role.
There has been some speculation Adamson will take the rap for a media briefing to The Telegraph in March that ultimately wiped billions off the market value of various insurance companies.
An external report on the matter from lawyer Simon Davis, partner at Clifford Chance, is expected to be released this week.
Adamson commented on his departure:
We have made real progress and have much to be proud of in our supervision work since the FCA was set up 18 months ago.The changes announced today, which I support, are an important step in the FCA’s development and in particular will lead to a sharper focus in our work as we deal with the challenges of a wider remit, significant changes in financial services and the continuing need for cultural change in the industry.
When the FCA was set up it was expected to be a consumer champion with a focus on ensuring competition in financial markets. That ambition has once again been emphasised in the company’s new strategic approach.
A statement from the authority said the new outlook “recognises the differences in approach required across the industry given its size and variety, based on emphasising sector and market-wide work and reflecting the FCA’s competition duties”.
Simon Morris of law firm CMS commented:
Coming only 18 months after launch, and with policy and markets unchanged, 'Our Strategy' echoes the familiar themes of the original 'Road to the FCA' manifesto.In fact, it's not a strategy at all because a departmental reshuffle and a promise of a sharper focus on small firms amount to little more than a statement of business as usual.That said, it's a convincing backdrop for the coincident departures - before the official investigation is published - of the two hapless individuals who inadvertently leaked the FCA's business plan earlier this year and sent insurers' shares tumbling.