FCA hunts for new financial advice director

FCA hunts for new financial advice director

Linda Woodall, director of life insurance and financial advice at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has left the regulator, the FCA has confirmed.

Ms Woodall retired during the Christmas period and the process to find her successor is already underway.

The position was advertised under the same job title and accepted applications until 6 November.

The FCA would not say who has taken up the role in the interim or whether a successor has already been found, however.

Ms Woodall took up her post in November 2015 after leading the regulator’s mortgage and consumer lending division for two years from 2013, according to her Linkedin profile.

In her role she oversaw the FCA's adviser due diligence review of 2016, which found some advice firms were putting platforms ahead of their clients get when considering products.

She was also in charge of the regulator's advice suitability review, which in May 2017 found the vast majority of advisers were doing the right thing but there were issues with disclosure of cost and service.

Ms Woodall also acted as director of supervision for a brief period, replacing Tracey McDermott, who acted up as chief executive before leaving the regulator in mid-2016

Ms McDermott became the acting chief executive in September 2015 when Martin Wheatley left the regulator.

Ms Woodall joined the regulator in 2009 and was head of investment intermediaries at the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority for four years from 2008 to 2012.

The position director of life insurance and financial advice reports directly to the executive director responsible for investment, wholesale and specialists supervision.

The division comprises the pensions and retirement income department, which looks after more than 400 life and pension providers, and the retail investments department, which supervises about 6,000 firms, from sophisticated financial services groups to smaller UK based sole traders, platforms and self-invested personal pension (Sipp) operators.

The regulator is also looking to recruit a lead associate in its pensions and life insurance division.

This position, advertised at £60,000-£75,000 per annum, will be part of the supervisory team, helping to supervise pension providers.

Patrick Connolly, Certified financial planner and communications manager at Chase de Vere, commended Ms Woodall's work in her latest role. 

He said: "This is a challenging role in which it can be difficult to focus on the bigger picture and the best interests of consumers without being unpopular with advisers and life assurance companies.

"However, Linda Woodall has generally taken a pragmatic approach in terms of working with the industry and this has been welcomed."

He said he hopes her successor will build on this approach, "so that we can work with the regulator to provide the best overall outcomes."