Watchdogs with City past wanted: FCA fines top £1.47bn as experience of executives called into question

Caitlin Morrison
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Martin Wheatley will appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee this morning (Source: Getty)

The City watchdog has issued over £1.47bn worth of fines to financial services firms so far this year, while issuing over 100 disciplinary measures such as bans.

But, its critics say, it has done all this with an organisation that is lacking in commercial experience on its executive committee, its most senior board of full-time executives.
The FCA points to “extensive industry experience below the ExCo level”, but others within the financial services industry, despite being unwilling to state it publicly, disagree.
Clive Adamson, who has announced his departure, is an exception, having spent more than 20 years in banking, at Citigroup and Bank of America. Hiring David Godfrey and Georgina Philippou is also a step in the right direction, but they are in temporary roles.
Last week, one of the insurance sector’s top chief executives, Legal & General’s Nigel Wilson, said: “Adamson’s departure is a sad day for the FCA. He will be a loss to regulation in the UK.”
Adamson, along with director of communications and international Zitah McMillan, who is also set to depart, will both appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee this morning. They face questions over their part in the issues examined in the Davis report – published last week – which contains the findings of an investigation into the events surrounding a bungled media leak in March. An article stating that the regulator was set to review 30m policies, and containing quotes attributed to Adamson, saw billions wiped millions off the value of insurance companies.
Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis was appointed to conduct an inquiry. Days before his report was published, the FCA announced a restructure, which will see the departures of Adamson, McMillan and Victoria Raffe.


■ Chief executive Wheatley has led the FCA since it first launched in April 2013.
■ He previously joined the Financial Services Authority (FSA), in 2011, from the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong, where he had served as chief executive for five years.
■ Before this, he held various roles including deputy chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, where he worked for 18 years, including six on the board, and also sat on the FSA’s Listing Authority Advisory Committee.


■ Woolard is the FCA’s director of policy, risk and research, having joined in January 2013. He is also on the regulator’s policy steering committee.
■ He previously worked as group director, content international and regulatory development, and a board member at the media regulator Ofcom. He was also a non-executive member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.
■ Before that, Woolard was a deputy director at the BBC Trust, and also worked in the department of trade and industry.


■ Lawton, director of markets at the FCA, was head of the market infrastructure and policy department of the FSA.
■ Before joining the FSA in January 2005, Lawton spent nearly 20 years at Her Majesty’s Treasury, latterly as head of capital markets and governance.­­­­­­­­
■ As of 5 January 2015, he will no longer be a member of the executive committee - his role was moved out of the committee as part of the recently-announced restructuring plans.


■ McDermott has been director of enforcement at the FCA since it began. In January, she will take on responsibility for authorisations and supervision.
■ She joined the enforcement division of the FSA in 2001, and served as director of the FSA’s enforcement and financial crime division. She was also a member of the FSA’s executive committee.
■ McDermott qualified as a solicitor in 1995, specialising in commercial litigation, and has worked for law firms in the UK, US and Brussels.


■ Adamson, who will step down as director of supervision in January, also served as an executive board member at the watchdog.
■ During his time at the regulator, Adamson had responsibility for the retail and wholesale conduct supervision for regulated firms across all industry sectors in the UK.
■ Before the change in regulator, he was director of the major retail groups division in the FSA.
■ Prior to that, he served as a senior adviser at the FSA, having previously held the same role at the Bank of England.
■ Adamson started his career at Citigroup, spending four years there. He then moved on to Bank of America, where he worked for more than 15 years, ending up as senior vice president and head of the UK and Northern Europe region.
■ He is a past council member of the British Bankers’ Association and chair of the American Banking and Securities Association of London.
■ During his time at the FCA he also endured criticism for his part in approving the appointment of disgraced Paul Flowers as chairman of the Co-operative Bank.


■ Godfrey will take over as acting chief operating officer from February. He will hold the role temporarily until a permanent replacement can be found.
■ He has been finance director of the FCA (formerly Financial Services Authority) for the past five years before which he was executive director at the legal services commission.
■ Before that, he was chief financial officer at Misys Hospital Systems until 2004.
■ Godfrey was finance director of Misys Internet Services until 2002. He graduated from Durham University in 1980 with a BA in Geography.


■ Philippou has some City experience but is only temporarily holding the role of acting director of enforcement until the role can be filled permanently.
■ She is a fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment.
■ Philippou chairs the International Organization of Securities Commissions and co-chairs its screening group.
■ Began her career at major accountancy firm before becoming an investment analyst for a stock broker then an investment bank. Went on to Join the Securities and Investment Board (one of the FCA’s predecessor organisations).

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