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FCA adds 5 execs to spur 'data-driven regulator' strategy

The Financial Conduct Authority has appointed its first chief data officer among five new appointments announced today as it pushes ahead with its ambition to become a ‘data-driven’ regulator.

New hire Jessica Rusu will become the FCA’s first chief data, information and intelligence officer (CDIIO).

She will lead the transformation of the FCA’s use of data, intelligence and information. She is currently chief data officer at digital challenger bank Chetwood Financial. She was also formerly senior director of finance and analytics at eBay in Europe. 

The FCA has also recruited a new chief operating officer; executive director (markets) and executive director (authorisations) as its brings together two supervision divisions with the FCA’s policy and competition functions.

All five of the appointments are women.

Bringing the divisions together is part of the regulator’s transformation programme announced in December to build a “data-led regulator able to make fast and effective decisions.”

Recently, former FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey admitted that ‘red flag’ warnings received by the FCA contact centre two years ago about collapsed mini-bond firm London Capital & Finance were missed because the regulator had no “mechanism” to spot the warning signs.

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Stephanie Cohen will join the regulator as COO and will be responsible for the FCA’s operations and business performance, systems and infrastructure and finances. She was previously global COO for BlackRock’s active equity business and alpha strategies division. She spent 14 years at the investment firm.

Sarah Pritchard will become executive director, markets to work alongside Sheldon Mills (who was appointed in December) to run the new division. She will be responsible for the delivery of the FCA’s statutory market integrity objective in the combined supervision, policy and competition division. She will join in June from the National Economic Crime Centre where she is a director. She has worked in a range of government departments in legal and operational roles and in risk and compliance at HSBC. She trained as a commercial litigator with Decherts LLP.

Emily Shepperd will take up the newly-created role of executive director, authorisations in March. She was most recently director of customer services and change at Aegon UK. She was also formerly EMEA COO for Bank of New York Mellon.

The FCA has also appointed Clare Cole as director of market oversight, responsible for the team overseeing the conduct of participants in the primary and secondary markets through the listing, prospectus and market abuse regimes. As part of that role, she will lead the FCA’s response to Lord Hill’s forthcoming Listings Review. She has been acting director in the role since December and has worked at the FCA since 2003.

Ms Cohen, Ms Rusu, Ms Pritchard and Ms Shepperd will sit on the FCA’s Executive Committee, its most senior executive decision-making body. They will join Nikhil Rathi, chief executive; Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight; Megan Butler, executive director of transformation; Nausicaa Delfas, executive director of international; Sheldon Mills, executive director, consumer and competition; Sheree Howard, executive director, risk and compliance oversight and Sean Martin, general counsel.

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Stephanie, Jessica, Sarah and Emily into the FCA to be part of our executive leadership team. They bring with them a deep understanding of the consumers we seek to protect, the markets we oversee, and all have track records for operational excellence.

“As we continue transforming the FCA – building a data-led regulator – their global experience and leadership, drawn from a variety of backgrounds, will be vital in ensuring we can act more quickly to reduce harm to consumers and ensure market integrity. 

“I also congratulate Clare on her appointment as director of market oversight, a role she takes on at an important time for UK markets as the FCA takes forward the work of Lord Hill’s Listings Review.”

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