View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a871979
MPs to grill FCA bosses over dropped bank inquiry
MPs will question Financial Conduct Authority bosses over the controversial decision to drop a review of banking culture.
MPs on the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) are set to grill bosses of City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over its controversial decision to drop a review into banking culture.
The TSC has summoned FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones and acting chief executive Tracey McDermott to appear before MPs later this month.
In December the FCA dropped its inquiry into bank culture, which would have looked at whether pay, promotion or other incentives had contributed to scandals involving banks in the UK and abroad.
The move attracted criticism, with some arguing the FCA had come under pressure from the Treasury to drop the review. TSC member John Mann, a Labour MP, said the government had exploited the FCA's lack of a permanent chief executive to push it into dropping the review.
Former FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley was ousted last year when chancellor George Osborne refused to renew his contract, a move widely seen as a response to complaints from the banking sector over Wheatley's combative approach.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Osborne denied Treasury pressure had been behind the dropping of the review, claiming the decision was 'completely independent' of his influence and that he had been given 'no advance warning of it'.
TSC chair Andrew Tyrie (pictured) broke his silence on the issue by saying the regulator's decision to drop the review was 'curious' and that he would seek assurances the FCA was 'up to the job' of overseeing the banks.
'The FCA has a tough job,' he said. 'Just as the banks are in the process of sorting themselves out, so are the regulators. There is a long way to go. The crash exposed shortcomings in standards in regulators almost as bad as in banks.
'Getting it right – securing better protection for consumers and markets while at the same time ensuring they don’t make life unduly burdensome for business, from which everyone would ultimately be the loser – is a big undertaking. The committee will want assurance from the FCA that it is up to the job.'
McDermott has meanwhile ruled herself out of the running for the permanent chief executive position at the FCA, saying it was 'not the right job for me at this stage of my career'.
'Going through the recruitment process has made me reflect on what I want to do with the rest of my career,' she said. 'This was a decision taken after many months of careful thought and was not one that I took lightly.'
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