Britain's financial watchdog appoints joint heads of enforcement

FCA signage seen at their head offices in London
Signage is seen for the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), the UK's financial regulatory body, at their head offices in London, Britain March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Thursday it had appointed two joint heads of enforcement and market oversight, at a critical time for the regulator amid turmoil in markets and some criticism of its track record.

Therese Chambers and Steve Smart will co-lead the division and replace Mark Steward, whom the regulator previously said was leaving the organisation.

The FCA said they would be responsible for reducing growth in financial crime in Britain and ensuring high standards under the regulator's planned consumer duty for financial firms.

The regulator has faced scrutiny over its enforcement record in recent years, including over its handling of the collapse of several funds.

Chambers was previously director of consumer investments at the FCA, while Smart joins from the National Crime Agency, where he was director of intelligence.

Chambers will take on the role from the start of next month, while Smart will join on June 21. Steward will leave the FCA on April 13.

The regulator also said that executive director for markets Sarah Pritchard would take over responsibility for the FCA's international work once Steward leaves.

The changes mean a majority of the FCA's nine-person executive committee - five in total - will be women, while three are from minority ethnic backgrounds, the regulator said.

Reporting by Iain Withers Editing by Mark Potter

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