Nikhil Rathi appointed as FCA chief executive

The Treasury has confirmed the appointment of Nikhil Rathi as the permanent chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Rathi is currently the chief executive of London Stock Exchange plc.

From September 2009 to April 2014, he was director, financial services group at HM Treasury. In this role, he led the Treasury’s work on the UK’s EU and international financial services interests.

Rathi is expected to take up the role in the Autumn.

Charles Randell, chair of the FCA, said: “I warmly welcome Nikhil to the FCA. I look forward to working with him as he leads the FCA to deliver the next phase of its mission.

“Nikhil has been closely involved in guiding the FCA’s development through his roles on our Practitioner Panel and Markets Practitioner Panel, and brings both private sector management skills and experience of domestic and international regulatory policymaking.

“I would also like to thank Christopher Woolard for steering the FCA through its initial response to COVID-19 with great energy and skill. He has been an exemplary leader in this very difficult period.”

Rathi added: “I am honoured to be appointed chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority.

“I look forward to building on the strong legacy of Andrew Bailey and the exceptional leadership of Christopher Woolard and the FCA Executive team during the crisis. FCA colleagues can be very proud of their achievements in supporting consumers and the economy in all parts of the UK in recent months.

“In the years ahead, we will create together an even more diverse organisation, supporting the recovery with a special focus on vulnerable consumers, embracing new technology, playing our part in tackling climate change, enforcing high standards and ensuring the UK is a thought leader in international regulatory discussions.”

Martin Cheek, managing director at AML experts SmartSearch, welcomed the appointment but said Rathi faced a number of challenges.

He said: “The new chief executive will face a number of important challenges over the coming years as the financial system comes to terms with the damage wreaked by COVID-19.

“One of the biggest challenges is the increased threat of financial crime highlighted by the Financial Action Task Force in recent months, as criminals look to take advantage of the crisis.

“There have been significant improvements in the way financial institutions approach the fight against money laundering in recent years, but there are still too many firms operating outdated processes that have not kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated methods employed by criminals.

“One of the FCA’s roles will be to encourage firms to move with the times, using a combination of carrot and stick to persuade them to embrace technology and protect their businesses and their customers against the impact of financial crime.”

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