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FCA names fintech friendly regulator Chris Woolard as Interim Chief Executive

Woolard joined the Financial Services Authority in 2013 from Ofcom having previously worked at the BBC and in the civil service.

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Chris Woolard, the former Executive Director of Strategy and Competition will take up  Interim Chief Executive of the UK City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Woolard takes up the role following Andrew Bailey’s departure who is set to become Governor of the Bank of England.

As Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, Woolard was responsible for the FCA’s policy output, its work on innovation, competition and economics and for helping direct strategy.

His seven years in the job coincided with the budding of the UK fintech scene, as well as the launch of AltFi. The UK regulator, much driven by Woolard’s efforts fostered a number of key programmes that aimed to boost innovation in financial services including its ‘sandbox’ and Project Innovate in 2014.

In a speech two years ago Woolard said: We have worked with over 500 firms through FCA Innovate and around 70 in-depth in our sandbox.his has been one of the largest and most complex regulatory sandboxes in the world, involving firms from Singapore, the US and South Africa, amongst other countries.”

This was shortly before announcing an expansion of the sandbox globally to work alongside other national regulators. 

“Three and half years after we launched Project Innovate and our belief in the transformative role of technology in improving outcomes for consumers has not wavered. In fact, our ambitions are greater than ever before. The opportunities are there for the taking – and we are poised to reach out and grab them with both hands. But we can’t do it alone,” he added.

“Finance is a truly global sector and it only makes sense that we tackle the challenges of our age together. So fostering innovation and collaboration will be absolutely central to what we do next,” he said. 

Woolard joined the Financial Services Authority in 2013 from Ofcom (2009-2012), the BBC (2005-2009) and in the civil service (1995-2005).

Charles Randell, the FCA’s chair, said on the news of the appointment: “I’m looking forward to working with Chris in his Interim Chief Executive role.  I’m confident that he and Executive Committee colleagues will continue to deliver our ambitious plans for change in 2020 and beyond, building on the foundations laid by Andrew Bailey.”

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