Treasury committee ramps up calls for FCA chief executive appointment veto

Andrew Tyrie

The influential Treasury committee of MPs has scaled up efforts to hand it the final say in the appointment and sacking of a future FCA chief executive.

The committee wants the power to veto the recruitment and dismissal of the most senior figure at the regulator to ensure its ongoing independence.

The Treasury currently has total autonomy in hiring and firing the FCA chief executive.

However, Conservative MP and Treasury committee chairman Andrew Tyrie has tabled an amendment to the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill that would allow it to block CEO appointments.

The amendment would also apply to the appointment of a future governor of the Bank of England.

Tyrie says: “Public appointments to quangos need more rigorous scrutiny. They have needed it for years.

“More of the most powerful appointments – of the chief executive of the FCA and the governor of the Bank of England – should be subject to full pre-appointment scrutiny. The Government continues to disagree, appealing to the ‘market sensitivity’ of these appointments. That is not an adequate explanation.

“The time has come to entrench the independence of the post of chief executive of the FCA. On behalf of the Treasury committee, I have tabled an amendment to the Bank of England and Financial Services Bill to give this effect.

“The chief executive of the FCA should be able to operate with the confidence that he or she cannot be dismissed without Parliament’s – the Treasury committee’s – approval.

“The public, too, need to have confidence that the Government is not interfering with independent supervisors and regulators.”

The move comes after Chancellor George Osborne ousted former FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley in July last year. The decision was widely viewed as a concession to the City of London.

The Treasury has since confirmed Prudential Regulation Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey will take the reins at the FCA later this year.