Britain appoints interim chair to financial watchdog at 'pivotal time'

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LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Britain's finance ministry said on Friday that Richard Lloyd had been appointed interim chair of the Financial Conduct Authority from June at a "pivotal" time for the watchdog as it faces internal and external challenges.

Lloyd, a former head of Britain's consumer watchdog Which? and currently a board member of the FCA, replaces current FCA Chair Charles Randell, who had previously announced he would be standing down this Spring, a year early.

The ministry said it had begun a recruitment campaign to find a permanent FCA chair and it has a strong commitment to diversity. The job comes with a salary of 170,000 pounds ($229,976) for 2-3 days a week.

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The FCA, which regulates 51,000 financial firms and markets, is undergoing an internal overhaul to become more aggressive in cracking down on misconduct such as the rise of online financial scams.

It is also steering the financial sector through changes wrought by Britain's departure from the European Union.

There is also opposition from some FCA staff to a restructuring in how they are paid and the watchdog could face its first industrial action.

"It is now a pivotal time for the FCA," Britain's financial services minister John Glen said.

"The next Chair will contribute significantly to the success of the UK’s financial services sector and the government looks forward to appointing them in due course."

Aidene Walsh has been appointed interim chair of the Payment Systems Regulator from April until a permanent replacement is found, the ministry also said in a statement.

Walsh, already a Payment Systems Regulator board member, has held senior roles at Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, rebranded as NatWest, ABN Amro bank, and Citigroup.

Randell was appointed chair of the FCA and PSR in April 2018.

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Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by Tommy Wilkes and Louise Heavens

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