The UK watchdog continues to add to its headcount – a sign both of rising complexity and perceived need to handle new types of threats as well as evolution of financial services.
The Financial Conduct Authority has named six directors and expanded its headcount including in areas such as the fight against economic crime. The FCA has been on a hiring drive, recruiting almost 500 people between January and July. (See here for a recent example of hires in areas including AI and data analytics.)
Roma Pearson has been appointed as the FCA’s director of consumer finance, responsible for the supervision and policy development in the consumer lending and mortgages sectors. Pearson has been at the FCA and its predecessors since 1996, most recently as a head of department in the risk and compliance oversight division.
Camille Blackburn will join the FCA in October in the newly-created role of director of wholesale buy-side. She will be responsible for policy development and the effective supervision across asset management, alternative investments, custody banks and investment research. Blackburn will be joining from Legal & General Investment Management, where she is global chief compliance officer.
Matthew Long has been appointed as director of payments and digital assets, a new role overseeing the e-money, payment and crypto-asset markets and leading related policy development. He is a director in the National Economic Crime Command within the National Crime Agency, which has a strategic leadership role for economic crime and illicit finance. He also led the UK Financial Intelligence Unit. He will be joining the FCA in October.
Anthony Monaghan has been promoted within the FCA to director of retail and regulatory investigations, which he has been covering on an interim basis since April 2021. He will be responsible for the FCA’s regulatory investigations into sectors including banking, insurance, financial advice and personal pensions. Monaghan has been at the FCA since 2010, most recently as head of retail and regulatory investigations within the regulator’s enforcement and market oversight division.
Karen Baxter will join the FCA’s enforcement team as director of strategy, policy, international and intelligence in September. She will lead the specialised functions that support the breadth of the FCA’s enforcement and market oversight activities, helping to ensure that it has the tools it needs to do its work effectively. Baxter had a 30-year policing career in senior roles including Commander and National Coordinator for Economic Crime at the City of London Police. Baxter, who is an Ofcom board member for Northern Ireland, was appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in March 2022.
Simon Walls, who was appointed interim director in May, will continue as permanent director of wholesale, sell-side.
The FCA recruitment figures show that whatever the health of the UK’s financial sector may be, the business of complying with, and enforcing rules, is prospering. New areas such as cryptocurrencies, constant shifts in the fight against money launderers, and the rise of more sophisticated investment products, help increase the demand for regulatory headcount. A question is how far such increases go before creating heavy burdens?