FCA appointments enrage whistleblower

FCA appointments enrage whistleblower

A regulatory whistleblower has claimed the Financial Conduct Authority is being openly provocative by appointing two non-executive board members with links to his case.

Nicholas Wilson, a former solicitor, had written to the regulator claiming people were struggling with credit card payments after being overcharged by HFC Bank, which was taken over by HSBC in 2003.

He made similar accusations against John Lewis Partnership and the John Lewis Financial Services company that HSBC set up to deal with the old HFC Bank accounts once it took over.

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In December, the FCA was forced to consider launching a further investigation into whether customers lost money because of practices at the bank, following Mr Wilson’s 12-year campaign.

The regulator had originally decided to take no action in the case, which involved credit card customers being overcharged, but has reversed that decision after the Office of the Complaints Commissioner accused it of mishandling the matter.

Today (26 January), the FCA separately announced the appointments of Baroness Sally Hogg, chairman of the audit committee at John Lewis Partnership, and Ruth Kelly, former global head of client strategy at HSBC Global Asset Management, as non-executive board members from 1 April.

Mr Wilson called the hires “extraordinary” and an act of “throwing it back in my face”.

Along with the appointment of Andrew Bailey as its new chief executive, the FCA confirmed four new non-executive board members, after three saw their terms expire recently.

Former Baigrie Davies director Amanda Davidson was one of those to step down, alongside Financial Inclusion Centre founder Mick McAteer and former Deloitte senior partner Brian Pomery.

No representative from the adviser community was selected to replace Ms Davidson, with the other two new board appointments being Financial Advice Market Review panel member and Age UK chief executive Tom Wright, along with former Investec boss Bradley Fried.