The Financial Conduct Authority has brought in the FBI’s former head of international operations in a bid to improve its investigations unit.
The UK regulator confirmed that it has raided the London based investigations unit of Standard Chartered to bring in Michael Welch, an FBI veteran of more than 30 years, who previously ran the Bureau’s international operations.
The UK regulator said that Welch was appointed as the FCA’s director of retail and regulatory investigations earlier this month. A spokesman for the regulator told Bloomberg that Welch had indeed joined the organisation and that he will report to Mark Steward, the agency’s director of enforcement and market oversight. He replaces Tom Spender, who left the FCA in June to join Lloyds Banking Group Plc.
Welch moved to London to join Standard Chartered in 2014 after a 30-year career in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. David Fein of the bank had previously described the team led by Welch to Bloomberg as “our internal fact finders” that combine “old-fashioned police skills” with knowledge of financial services. The Standard Chartered unit is staffed by former spies, police detectives, compliance officers and bankers, who are accredited through a program with the City of London Police.
Under increasing pressure
The FCA is under increasing pressure to improve its investigations unit under the leadership of Andrew Bailey, who began his role as chief executive last month.
As International Investment reported, the UK government admitted that the Financial Conduct Authority had failed to protect investors, following a deeply critical report into the handling of financial services mis-selling.
The UK government published its own conclusions via an under-the-radar, updated minutes document released by HM Treasury on its website.
The UK government’s conclusions on the controversial mis-selling of financial services products is based on a report entitled Financial Services Mis-selling: Regulation and Redress and published by the Committee of Public Accounts.
The government agreed with the report that the FCA has not done enough to tackle the “cultural problems that lie behind mis-selling” by financial services firms.