Standard Chartered’s Investigations Head Leaves Bank for FCA

  • Michael Welch joins regulator as head of retail investigations
  • 30-year FBI veteran moved to London in 2014 to work for bank

The head of Standard Chartered Plc’s internal investigations unit has left the bank to join the Financial Conduct Authority, according to the U.K. regulator.

Michael Welch, who previously ran the FBI’s international operations, was appointed the FCA’s director of retail and regulatory investigations this month, a spokesman for the regulator said. He will report to Mark Steward, the agency’s director of enforcement and market oversight, and replaces Tom Spender, who left the FCA in June to join Lloyds Banking Group Plc.

Welch, who was most recently Standard Chartered’s group head of shared investigative services, moved to London with the bank in 2014 after a 30-year career in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The lender’s General Counsel David Fein has described the team as “our internal fact finders” that combine “old-fashioned police skills” with knowledge of financial services. The unit is staffed by former spies, police detectives, compliance officers and bankers, who are accredited through a program with the City of London Police.

For more on Standard Chartered’s efforts to root out corruption, click here.

The FCA was created in 2013 after the financial crisis, when the Bank of England was given responsibility for bankers’ conduct and customer protection, as well as financial stability through its sister agency the Prudential Regulation Authority. Andrew Bailey started as CEO last month and said the regulator will narrow its focus over his tenure.

Fein lost another member of his team at Standard Chartered last month when his deputy legal counsel Duncan Wales left to run Exotix Partners LLP, the brokerage for frontier-market debt controlled by ICAP Plc head Michael Spencer.

Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters has been cracking down on a culture where managers flouted ethics rules for personal gain and considered themselves “above the law.” The bank is also overseen by an independent monitor, installed as part of a 2012 deferred prosecution agreement, when it was fined $667 million for violating U.S. sanctions on doing businesses with Iran.

Welch “developed our shared investigative services function as a key part of the group’s conduct program,” Fein said in an e-mail. “His appointment is a credit to him and his achievements with Standard Chartered following his successful career in U.S. law enforcement.”

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