Former Which? boss tapped for interim chair at City watchdog

The British government has intercepted Richard Lloyd, the former Which? CEO, as the interim chairman of the top financial watchdog, said a person with knowledge of the case Monday night.

The news comes hours after an unknown number of Financial Conduct Authority employees ended their vote on strike in protest of proposed changes to pay and work practices during a divisive transformation plan led by Nikhil Rathi, the chief executive.

The outgoing chairman Charles Randall said in October that he resigned a year before his term of office ended in April 2023 so that his successor could oversee the completion of a plan that promises to deliver a more efficient data-driven regulator in the wake of scandals such as. London Capital Finance.

Sky News reported Monday night that the Treasury Department was set to name Lloyd on a temporary basis. A person familiar with the situation told the Financial Times that the report was accurate. The Ministry of Finance declined to comment on any aspect of the process of appointing a new chairman. The FCA referred inquiries to the Treasury Department.

Lloyd, who headed the Consumer Watchdog Which? from 2011 to 2016, has been Senior Independent Director of the FCA since April 2019. He is also Chairman of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and on the Board of Advertising Standards Authority.

He joins the FCA at a critical time as it struggles to win staff backing for its strategic overhaul while handling a huge post-Brexit workload, including updating the licenses of EU companies that have sold to the UK directly from blocks.

The union Unite claims that the restructuring proposals, which include the elimination of bonuses that most employees have benefited from annually in favor of a new scheme for the top 25 percent of artists, are unfair.

They began voting employees on labor struggles on January 24, promising to “give a clear sense of how bad the morale and employee confidence of the workforce is within FCA management”. The union is pushing for it to be officially recognized by the FCA, and will not say how many of the agency’s 4,000 employees are members. The result of the vote will be announced in the coming days.

In addition to the extra work from Brexit, the FCA has been further stretched by adding areas to its mandate, including cryptocurrency, where the agency has been accused of monitoring the rapidly growing industry’s controls against money laundering and terrorist financing since January 2020.

The FCA will soon assume responsibility for police control of crypto ads and has already outlined plans to enforce tighter rules to make it harder for companies to lure customers with promises of large potential rewards without clearly specifying the risks involved.

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