FCA chair Charles Randell resigns in shock move amid staff morale crisis

The chair of the Financial Conduct Authority has resigned, amid a period of turmoil at the UK’s markets regulator.

Charles Randell, who joined the FCA in 2018 for a five-year term after almost two decades at law firm Slaughter and May, tendered his resignation on 15 October.

He will leave his post in spring 2022, according to a joint statement on the matter from the government’s Treasury department and the FCA.

In a letter to the UK’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Randell wrote that “now is the right time for a new chair” to take over.

A statement from the FCA said that Randell “will not be moving to any other position”.

His resignation comes amid a period of falling staff morale at the watchdog.

Under the leadership of FCA chief executive Nikhil Rathi since October 2020, the FCA has been grappling with mounting workloads as Brexit gives more powers to UK regulators.

It is also tasked with restarting initiatives derailed by the pandemic, all while undergoing significant structural changes, as well as changes to its top ranks, as part of the new chief’s ambitious transformation agenda.

READ  FCA staff slam bosses in leaked internal chats: ‘I’ve never worked in such an unhappy place’

Changes to staff pay proposed by Rathi have led to further upset amongst FCA employees. Finanical News reported this week that FCA staff blasted their bosses for decimating morale in a tense internal discussion on the watchdog’s plans to scrap bonuses.

Randell’s move also follows call for his resignation following a series of retail investment scandals.

Gina Miller and Alan Miller, founders of wealth firm SCM Private, and also among the City’s fiercest critics of the UK regulator, called for Randell to step down in April over victim compensation related to scandals such as London Capital & Finance.

In an open letter over policies that the FCA has introduced for compensating victims of financial fraud,  the couple told Randell they were “truly astonished” by his actions “in relation to the FCA Complaints Scheme” and  complained of “anti-consumer and potentially unlawful steps” taken by the watchdog in compensating victims in matters like LCF.

An FCA spokesperson said at the time that it had “consulted on the changes” to its complaints scheme and would respond to the Millers regarding their concerns.

Randell’s letter to Treasury said it “had been a privilege to chair the FCA” during “this extraordinary and challenging period”.

“Although this transformation is well under way, it will not be complete by the end of my term,” he said. “As our newly established executive team begin to roll out their strategies next year to complete the transformation of the FCA, it is the right time to hand over the oversight of the rest of the transformation programme to a chair who can see it through to completion.”

In response, Sunak thanked Randell for his work “during this important period”.

“Charles has led both Boards [of the FCA and the UK’s payments regulator] during the UK’s transition to our new position outside the EU, through the vital economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the important transition following Nikhil Rathi’s arrival as new CEO of the FCA,” Sunak said.

Treasury will now commence the process for recruiting Randell’s replacement, the Treasury said in a statement on the matter.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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