Martin Wheatley Pushes for UK Financial Reform

Martin Wheatley, CEO of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority

Since taking on the role of chief executive at the UK’s new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Martin Wheatley has been outspoken about implementing new reforms in the financial sector. Shortly before his term began, Wheatley announced that the FCA would be monitoring activity on Twitter as part of their efforts to use “new ideas and new ways” to spot illegal activities.

In early October, Wheatley declared that the FCA is “putting payday lenders on notice” and that “tougher regulation is coming.” In addition to new regulations for payday lenders, the FCA is seeking to regulate several other credit industries.

The FCA is also targeting big banks in the UK for mis-selling interest rate derivatives. Wheatley says that “the moral compass was lost in banking” for a period; the banks in question “were selling more complicated products than they needed to because they made more profit.” The FCA’s first goal is to get money back to the people affected, but Wheatley notes that in some cases, the FCA “may need to take further action.”

Perhaps Wheatley’s most impassioned attack is the one he levied against the complaint-handling processes of certain banks. He says that the high percentage of upheld complaints is “absolutely not acceptable” and that “it is outrageous that these sort of figures are still the case.” His concerns run parallel to the FCA’s decision to conduct a large-scale review of complaint handling in banks and similar institutions.

International regulatory reform presents another set of problems for the FCA chief, who recently claimed that a “patchwork quilt of national and regional rules [surrounding derivatives] runs the risk of becoming unworkable.”

Next on the horizon for Wheatley is the Sixth Annual CFA Institute European Investment Conference in London, where he will deliver a keynote address. You can register for the conference online and follow this blog for updates.

Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.

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