June 26, 2014 / 7:06 PM / 3 years ago

UK's FCA top execs defer bonuses due to "zombie" fund probe

June 26 (Reuters) - Senior executives at Britain’s financial watchdog have decided to defer their annual bonuses until a probe into a media briefing the regulator organised on pension and savings plans sold by insurers is completed, an FCA spokeswoman told Reuters.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s Chief Executive Martin Wheatley is among the nine senior managers who have decided not to accept any discretionary payments for last year until the inquiry is completed.

Britain’s financial watchdog held a media briefing in March in which it said it would investigate roughly 30 million policies held in so-called “zombie” insurance funds.

The announcement wiped off billions of pounds from the value of major insurance companies such as Aviva, Friends Life and Legal & General.

The FCA issued a clarifying statement about the terms of its review some six hours later, after which many of the insurers’ share prices rebounded.

An official announcement is expected to be released in the FCA’s annual report, due to be published on July 9.

Last year, Wheatley was awarded a performance-related payout of 86,000 pounds, Sky News said.

The FCA spokeswoman declined to say when insurance probe would be completed.

Most members of the FCA’s nine-strong executive committee had no involvement in the briefing, and expected to receive their bonus awards once the inquiry is completed, Sky reported.

The other members of the FCA executive committee who are understood to have agreed to defer their bonuses are Clive Adamson, director of supervision; David Lawton, director of markets; Sean Martin, general counsel; Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime; Zitah McMillan, director of communications; Victoria Raffe, director of authorisations; Lesley Titcomb, chief operating officer; and Christopher Woolard, director of policy, risk and research. (Reporting by Huw Jones in London and Tasim Zahid in Bangalore, editing by David Evans)

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