View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a875154
FCA boss denies Treasury quashed bank inquiries
City regulator denies claims it was forced to drop banking review and inquiry into HSBC's Swiss private bank due to government pressure.
City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has denied it was forced to drop inquiries into the banks due to pressure from the Treasury.
FCA chairman John Griffiths-Jones and acting chief executive Tracey McDermott (pictured) appeared before the Treasury Select Committee after news emerged over the Christmas period that the regulator had dropped a review into banking culture and an investigation into allegations HSBC's Swiss private bank helped wealthy clients evade tax.
McDermott rejected accusations of Treasury interference at the regulator, particularly the idea that Megan Butler, an executive director at the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), had influenced the regulator’s decision not to publish a thematic review into culture at UK banks.
‘The idea that Megan came in and killed the review is nonsense,’ she said.
Griffith-Jones meanwhile said he had been surprised by chancellor George Osborne's decision not to renew the contract of previous FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley. The move was widely seen as a response to complaints from the banking sector over Wheatley's combative approach.
‘The board had been happy with Mr Wheatley’s performance,’ Griffith-Jones said. ‘What I definitely did think is that Martin had done a really good job in pretty brutal circumstances up to that moment.He was somewhat pre-empted by the chancellor making his decision.’
The FCA is currently looking for a new boss. McDermott had been seen as a likely successor, but was forced into issuing a statement over her future after Osborne told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she had ruled herself out of the running for the post.
McDermott told MPs she was 'not exactly delighted' Osborne broke the news on live radio. ‘It’s a big issue for your team when they say you’re going,’ she added. ‘It would be preferable to be an announcement in conjunction with who the new chief executive would be. I wasn’t exactly delighted but these things happen,' she said.
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