Wednesday 16 September 2020 4:59 pm

Interim FCA chief to move on months after announcement of new boss

The interim boss of the City regulator will step down from the board in October, just months after the announcement of its new permanent chief executive.

The FCA said Christopher Woolard, who has been interim chief executive since Andrew Bailey left to become governor of the Bank of England in March, will step down on 1 October.

The news came as the regulator announced Woolard would be heading up a review into the regulation of the unsecured credit market in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The FCA said the review will focus on how improved regulation can help support a healthy unsecured lending market.

“It will take into account the impact of the coronavirus on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace”, it said.

Read more: FCA defers bonuses until the publication of report into collapse of LCF

Woolard will be helped by an advisory group and make recommendations to the FCA’s board early next year.

Nikhil Rathi will join the FCA as chief executive after a five year stint as head of the London Stock Exchange.

The City regulator also today warned lenders over their treatment of its customers in debt, urging them not to crack down on those who will struggle once repayment holidays come to an end.

It set out new guidance on how it expects banks and other lenders to provide support for those struggling once a second three-month payment holiday ends.

Read more: Regulator launches review into consumer investment market

During the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis, regulators set out how credit providers should help consumers with payment deferrals. Millions of customers requested three-month payment holidays.

And this could continue into 2021, as the current guidance allows consumers to request a deferral until the end of October.

“Our proposals are designed to help people who have been facing payment difficulties because of the pandemic get back on track with tailored support from firms”, Woolard said.

“For those who can restart payments, it is in their best interests to do so.”

The regulator asked banks to give customers the time and opportunity to repay the debt. “Do not pressurise them into repaying their debt within an unreasonably short period of time”, it added.

Lenders have also been asked to be flexible in employing a range of shorter and longer-term options to support customers “to minimise stress and anxiety” experienced by those in financial difficulty.

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