Martin Wheatley Resigns as Head of U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority

Jul 17 2015 | 12:21pm ET

The head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has resigned following the refusal of Chancellor George Osborne to renew his contract. 

Martin Wheatley resigned immediately after learning Osborne would not be asking him to stay once his contract expired in March of next year.

He will depart on September 12. A successor was not immediately named, although current director of supervision Tracey McDermott will become acting CEO at that time. 

The FCA is the United Kingom’s securities regular, akin to the U.S.’s Securities and Exchange Commission. 

In a statement, Osborne thanked Weatley for his service but felt moving forward required a change at the top. “Britain needs a tough, strong financial conduct regulator. Martin Wheatley has done a brilliant job of launching the FCA in tough circumstances,” Osborne said.

“Now that this phase is complete, the government believes that different leadership is required to build on those foundations and take the organization to the next stage of its development,” he added.

Wheatley led the FCA for two years. He first joined the regulator, which was then known as the Financial Services Authority, in September 2011 as managing director of the conduct unit. He became chief executive when the FSA was rebranded into the FCA IN 2013. 

Wheatley’s tough approach to the City’s banking and financial institutions was initially welcomed in light of scandals involving currency and interest rate fixing. However, his push for sweeping reforms in the UK’s investment industry ruffled feathers.

A brusque manner and a reputation for hunting scalps among the City's institutions did not help – Wheatley famously said he would “shoot first and ask questions later” when it came to investigating misconduct. Eventually, many senior banking executives soured on his efforts. 

Beforehand, he was CEO of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and served as the Deputy Chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group. 

Weatley will remain an advisor to FCA board until January. 

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