May 21, 2014 / 10:52 AM / 4 years ago

UK banks regulator Heales joins flow to private sector

LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) - Another senior regulator who left Britain’s financial watchdog has joined two other former colleagues at a private firm, adding to concerns of an exodus of staff since the regulator was split last year.

Advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal said on Wednesday it had hired Jeremy Heales, previously head of retail banks at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as a director for its UK regulatory advisory services practice.

Heales left the FCA in January and joins former senior UK regulators Paul Sharma and Graeme Ashley-Fenn at Alvarez & Marsal. Sharma was the former deputy head of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Ashley-Fenn is a former director of the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The FSA was split into two last April, and staff quit the PRA and FCA at nearly twice the previous rate in the first six months after separation, according to data seen by Reuters last year. That added to concern that regulators were unable to match pay on offer in the private sector and retain staff capable of carrying out more interventionist regulation.

Alvarez & Marsal said it is expanding its regulatory practice due to the challenges financial firms face in remaining compliant in an “increasingly complex and interventionist regulatory environment” and the need for firms to shift business models to improve profitability.

Heales, who reported to the FCA’s director of retail banking Karina McTeague, has worked in financial services regulation for 28 years, including at the Bank of England, the FSA and the FCA. His responsibilities at the FCA included chairing risk committees, leading reviews of supervised firms and addressing issues on complaints handling, payment protection insurance, financial crime and enforcement cases. (Reporting by Steve Slater, editing by Louise Heavens)

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