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FCA chair to step down next year

FCA chair to step down next year

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chairman John-Griffith-Jones has confirmed he will leave the regulator next year.

Griffith-Jones (pictured), who is also chairman of the Payment Services Regulator (PSR), said he will step down from his roles in March 2018 at the end of his five year term in office.  The Treasury will now start the process of looking for a new chair for the FCA.

He said he would be leaving the FCA ‘in good shape’.

‘I committed to a five year fixed term to chair the FCA and, in so doing, to help ensure that conduct regulation became a respected part of the UK financial landscape. It has been, and continues to be, a great privilege to be responsible for the work of both the FCA and the PSR.  I like to believe that I will leave both in good shape to regulate well in the future.’

Griffith-Jones was appointed as the first FCA chair from April 2013; he became, chair of the PSR when it was established in April 2014; his term of office at both organisations expires on 31 March 2018.

During his time Griffith-Jones was outspoken about the need to review the distinction between guidance and advice.

Speaking at a conference in Cambridge last year he said: 'Rules that were designed for the paperwork era do not work necessarily for the online one. The distinction between advice and guidance, once reasonably clear, has become much greyer with the advent of platforms and the potential of robo-advice,' he said.

Griffith-Jones and FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley were singled out for criticism for their handling of the 'closed-book blunder', when on 28 March 2014 the Daily Telegraph reported FCA director of supervision Clive Adamson as saying the regulator would probe closed-book life and pension policies dating back to the 1970s amid concerns over unfair terms and exit charges.

This led to billions of pounds being wiped off the shares of insurers, until hours later the regulator published a statement clarifying the scope of the review.

Earlier this year Griffith-Jones faced calls to step down, and not go for a second five year term, following a new FCA investigation into fraud at HBOS.

The FCA launched the enquiry after six fraudsters were sentenced to a total of 50 years in jail, for their involvement in a scheme which ran many small businesses into the ground and drained the bank of about £245 million, while they lavished money on foreign trips and parties.

Griffith-Jones was senior partner at HBOS auditor KPMG at the time of the fraud.  In April Anthony Stansfeld, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, which investigated the fraud, told The Sunday Times: 'There seem to be so many conflicted interests, I find it difficult to believe that the chairman of the FCA can continue in his present role.'

The FCA said Griffith-Jones would hold 'no role' into the HBOS investigation.

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