Financial Conduct Authority - Time For Change At The Top..

Posted on: 09/04/2017

There are calls in the Sunday Times today for John Griffith-Jones to relinquish his role as Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority.

I cannot disagree.

Griffith-Jones has definitely NOT been a catalyst of change in Financial Services in the UK.In fact,  the reverse is true. He has been a stout defender of the Status Quo, however obvious it has been to others that change has been vitally needed.

I will not regurgitate the story in the Sunday Times. All I will state is that it is a tale of cover-ups and failures to act; and that it is typical.

For my own part, I am very annoyed at the role Griffith-Jones has had to play in helping to neutralise any potential positive impact of the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR). 

Griffiths-Jones sanctioned the appointment of the anodyne and largely anonymous Hannah Nixon as CEO of the PSR. He also largely populated the Board of the PSR with Financial Conduct Authority insiders; no chance of an outspoken opinion there.

Hannah Nixon, a seasoned "Regulator", but with scant experience of Financial Services and, apparently, little interest in them, has not been a success.

One of my concerns - but only one of them - is that as the Regulator of LINK, the UK's world renowned and respected ATM Network, Nixon has failed to encourage innovation and, right now, is standing idly by as the whole future of LINK is at risk.

Smart ATMs can be the bank branches of the near future, replacing those apparently too-expensive-to-operate premises with innovative machines which can provide 99.9% of the services previously available only at banks.

A great example of Nixon's abject failure is that LINK now has a "Universal Cash Deposit" transaction available, which would allow anyone with a debit card (i.e.. virtually all of us) to deposit cash at ANY ATM. This is a great innovation, freeing the public and businesses from the chore of finding a branch of their own bank or one of their own banks ATM in order to make a cash deposit.

So the transaction is available at LINK - but it has not been executed by any Card Issuer. What has Nixon done to encourage the implementation of this wonderful innovation?


Similarly with the threat to the future of the whole LINK ATM Network.

It is well-known that only one major bank is threatening to move away from LINK. What has Nixon done to bring that bank back into line, in the public interest?


Griffiths-Jones and Nixon have both failed and both need to be shown the way to the exit.

There are some brilliant people available to replace the soon-to-be-departed.

For example, the outstanding Dr Andrew Bailey, currently Chair at the Prudential Regulation Authority, would be an excellent Chair of the Financial Conduct Authority. I leave him to select a strong team to push for integrity, payment choice, transparency and innovation.

It is time for a change - and we need to see it NOW.




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