FCA Acting CEO Withdraws From Race for Permanent Role

  • News follows comments from U.K. Chancellor George Osborne
  • CEO role opened last year after Martin Wheatley ousted

U.K. Financial Conduct Authority’s acting top executive withdrew from the race to take the role permanently after manning the post following the government’s ouster of the last head.

Chief Executive Officer Tracey McDermott interviewed for the position last year. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne told the BBC’s Today program Thursday McDermott didn’t want the job “full-time.”

"There’s a very effective interim leader in Tracey McDermott who has been doing a good job," Osborne told BBC Radio 4. “We’re looking now for the very best candidate.”

McDermott took over as acting CEO after former chief Martin Wheatley was ousted by Osborne in July. The move came shortly after the Chancellor said the era of “ever-larger” fines for bank misconduct was over and that it was not a “long-term answer.” In a statement at the time, Osborne said the government “believes that different leadership is required” to take the regulator to the next stage of its development.

The regulator said she pulled out of the race to replace Wheatley last month.

“The recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career,”  McDermott said in a statement. “As a result I have decided that this is not the right job for me at this stage of my career. This was a decision taken after many months of careful thought and was not one that I took lightly. ”

McDermott, a lawyer by training, has worked at the regulator since 2001, holding various top positions including heading both the enforcement and supervision units.

It’s not known whether she will stay once a permanent CEO is appointed.

Osborne’s statements and removal of Wheatley last year was taken as an indication of the government’s intention to trim bank regulation after an overhaul of the industry post-crisis. The FCA has levied many multi-million pound fines against financial firms in recent years over scandals including interest-rate and foreign-exchange benchmark manipulation.

McDermott said in a speech in October the industry must beware the “regulate, de-regulate, repeat” cycle seen throughout history if it is to avoid returning to the chaos of the last few years.

The U.K. regulator came under fire from lawmakers over the last week after dropping a review of banking culture, saying it won’t deliver an overarching report on the industry but work with firms individually instead. Treasury Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie said in an e-mailed statement Thursday the committee had asked McDermott and FCA Chairman John Griffith-Jones to explain their decision to drop the review. A hearing is planned for later this month.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE