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By Cheryl Jones
The FCA’s Annual Public Meeting 2015, The QEII Conference Centre, London 22nd July 2015
What were the key points to take away from the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) annual public meeting?
‘Another year of solid progress’ said FCA Chairman John Griffith-Jones, but there remained ‘a continuous quest for further improvement’. The words were almost identical to those of last year’s maiden public meeting but the inaugural tones of that meeting were noticeably absent, for, after just 24 months in its current form, the honeymoon period, it seems, is over as the Davis Inquiry Report cast its long shadow over proceedings. Mr Griffith-Jones conceded the FCA had fallen short on delivering its 2014/15 business plan but remained pragmatic, saying ‘the direction of travel is positive but we still look to improve and learn from mistakes’.
The Davis Inquiry Report, conducted by Clifford Chance LLP Partner, Simon Davis, makes uncomfortable reading. Neither Martin Wheatley nor the FCA came out of it at all well. The FCA was deemed ‘seriously inadequate’ by the report—a damning indictment for the regulator and embarrassment for the government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, was quick to deliver the coup de grace. FCA Chief Executive Officer, Martin Wheatley it to step down on 12 September 2015.The message from the Treasury was clear—‘a different leadership is required’.
‘I feel a sense of disappointment in stepping down’ said Martin Wheatley, addressing the meeting ‘and have unfinished business.’ What that unfinished business is remains to be seen, but he will continue to act as an adviser to the FCA board until 31 January 2016 with a particular emphasis on the implementation of the Fair and Effective Markets Review, which he co-chaired.
Despite the obvious internal miasma left by the report, Mr Griffi
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