Chris Woolard to leave the FCA

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Chris Woolard to leave the FCA

The Financial Conduct Authority’s interim chief executive Christopher Woolard is set to leave the watchdog next year after leading a review into the regulation of unsecured credit.

Mr Woolard became interim chief executive of the FCA in March this year after Andrew Bailey left to become governor of the Bank of England.

The regulator’s new permanent CEO Nikhil Rathi starts in October.

Mr Woolard, who is also an executive member of the regulator's board, joined the Financial Services Authority in 2013 before its transition to the FCA. 

He has since led the FCA’s strategy and competition work, including market studies across platforms, asset management, and insurance.

He also took charge of the FCA’s interests in fintech and its regulatory sandbox, including the advice unit, but more recently led the regulator's response to Covid-19.

Before Mr Woolard departs he will lead an FCA review into how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. 

It will take into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace. 

He will be assisted by an advisory group and will make recommendations to the FCA board in early 2021.

Following completion of the review, Mr Woolard will move on from the regulator but will not be able to take up any external appointment until at least six months after the end of his executive role.

Mr Woolard said: “It has been a tremendous honour to serve as chief executive of the FCA at such a critical time for the country and financial services. 

“I’d like to thank my many colleagues over the last eight years for all their help and support. I am delighted to be asked to lead a timely and significant review where access to sustainable credit is of great importance to so many people.”

Charles Randell, chairman of the FCA, added: “I am grateful for Chris’s contribution to the FCA, particularly during the last six months as he has led us through the coronavirus crisis with huge energy and skill.  

“Chris’s deep understanding of the unsecured credit market makes him the ideal person to advise the board on the development of regulation to support sustainable unsecured lending.  

"Unsecured lending can be critical to helping people through tough times but can cause serious harm if it’s not well regulated.”

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