Financial Conduct Authority  

'I didn't apply to this job to be liked', FCA boss tells MPs

'I didn't apply to this job to be liked', FCA boss tells MPs

The incoming chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has told MPs he did "not apply for the job to be liked" as he set out his plans for the regulator's future. 

Speaking at his first Treasury committee session on behalf of the City watchdog today (July 22) Nikhil Rathi said the top spot at the FCA was not a job to take "if you want to be liked". 

When asked what relationship he wanted with the firms he regulated, Mr Rathi said: "I wouldn't want to define myself as being feared either.

"I would like the FCA to be defined as tough, as assertive, as thoughtful, as decisive and working with pace and agility." 

The comments come one month after Mr Rathi was announced as Andrew Bailey's successor and the next chief executive at the FCA.  

He joins the regulator in October, from his role as chief executive of London Stock Exchange, when he will begin a five-year term on an annual salary of £455,000. 

Speaking with MPs today Mr Rathi revealed plans to shake up diversity and culture at the regulator, which he credited with "leading the way" on its commitments under the Women in Finance Charter.

He said: "The FCA is a national institution and it is incredibly important that the FCA reaches out to all the regions and nations of the United Kingdom.

"I think there is an opportunity now to think creatively about how resources for the FCA and talent can come from many more parts of the UK than historically."

Mr Rathi warned there were "deep" diversity issues in the financial services industry and admitted there would likely be "challenges" at the FCA too. 

He added: "There are issues in the talent pipeline through the organisation and how it is attracted and developed.

"There will be issues to be discussed around unconscious bias and I think the Black Lives Matter movement has touched a nerve in many organisations where colleagues are beginning to speak up much more openly about these issues."

The incoming FCA boss said he was open-minded to applying "no-names shortlisting" to the regulator's recruitment process, whereby CVs are considered anonymously so applicants are considered based "purely on merit and qualifications". 

During a career within government, which lasted more than a decade, the new watchdog boss was director of the financial services group at the Treasury where he led international legislative negotiations in the EU.

Before that he was head of the financial stability unit during the 2008 financial crisis and served as private secretary to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown during their time as prime ministers between 2005 and 2008. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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