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Former FCA chairman resurfaces at debt charity

Former FCA chairman resurfaces at debt charity

John Griffith-Jones, former chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority, is to chair debt charity StepChange from today (January 7).

Mr Griffith-Jones is taking over from Sir Hector Sants, a former Financial Services Authority chief executive, who stepped down in October to chair the government's new single guidance service.

Mr Griffith-Jones was chairman of the FCA from 2013 to 2018, and of its subsidiary, the Payment Systems Regulator.

Before this, he worked at KPMG from 1975 to 2012, becoming CEO and subsequently chairman and senior partner of KPMG in the UK.

He is vice chairman of charity National Numeracy, and also holds a number of other voluntary roles.

Chris Stern, interim Chair of StepChange Debt Charity, said: "We are delighted to welcome John to the role of chair, and we know StepChange will benefit hugely from his wealth of experience and develop further under his guidance.

"His insight will be invaluable as we navigate the forthcoming period of growth in the debt advice sector generally, and the charity specifically, with our goal to double the number of people we help in four years."

Mr Griffith-Jones left the FCA last April and was succeeded by Charles Randell, who had been put forward by HM Treasury. 

In his role Mr Griffith-Jones oversaw the FCA's implementation of the Retail Distribution Review and its taking on responsibility for regulating consumer credit. 

He has appeared in front of the Treasury select committee on a number of occasions defending the regulator's record.

In January 2016 he was attacked by MPs for the way the FCA announced the end of its investigation into banking culture.

He was then grilled by MPs in April 2016 over the appointment of current chief executive Andrew Bailey, who was given the job at the FCA without being interviewed for the post.

StepChange is the UK’s largest debt advice charity. Founded in 1993, it supports people experiencing debt problems through telephone and online services, and campaigns for change to reduce the harm and stigma associated with debt.

John Griffith-Jones said: "Debt advice has matured into a fully established sector within the wider financial landscape, with its own regulatory framework and its own challenges – notably the increasing demand for services.

"StepChange Debt Charity is well-placed to bring both scale and innovation to deliver the high quality advice that is so desperately needed both now and in the future.

"I am greatly looking forward to helping shape and develop the charity’s vital role, and thank Sir Hector Sants and Chris Stern for their excellent work, on which I now hope to build with the support of a strong trustee and executive team."

carmen.reichman@ft.com