Jody Houton

Nikhil Rathi, the new CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), spoke about the unprecedented challenges of 2020, and the abundance of opportunities of 2021, at a recent address to City Regulators. 

Mr Rathi began his speech by thanking those on the “frontline of financial services” for keeping vital amenities available throughout the rapidly changing circumstances that COVID-19 created. 

“My FCA colleagues worked at remarkable speed to introduce measures to protect consumers and to keep markets functioning.”

Indeed, the speed at which those from the financial services adapted to working across a digitized and decentralized workplace has been instrumental to how firms have fared throughout the pandemic.

From cashiers and call center employees, to traders and compliance officers, technology has played a key role in equipping and enabling financial service employees to continue operating, while remaining compliant with regulations as outlined by global financial regulators, such as the FCA.

The once unfathomable concept of traders and their compliance counterparts working in isolation quickly became a reality in the months following the outbreak of COVID-19, which made the rapid adoption of communications and compliance monitoring solutions a necessity. 

Such technology enables organizations to quickly and accurately identify areas of concern and misconduct, wherever the trader and compliance team are working.

Although just one month into the role, Mr Rathi has his eyes firmly set on the future of financial services regulation.

He explained that in order to better plan for the future, it was important to not lose sight of long-running issues that are reshaping financial services, such as climate change. Mr Rathi also spoke about the need to improve the use of data.

“With around 60,000 regulated entities to supervise, we need to make further investments in a more digital and data-enabled approach. This should allow us to intervene sooner to reduce harm to consumers and markets. And smarter collection and use of data, backing faster intervention, should result in a lower total cost of regulation for well run financial services firms. 

“Improving our capabilities will also aid our evaluation and engagement with industry on topics like big data, model risk management and artificial intelligence.”

Mr Rathi was appointed Chief Executive of the FCA in October, 2020. He was previously Chief Executive of London Stock Exchange (LSE) plc and Director of International Development. Before joining the LSE in 2014, Mr Rathi served in HM Treasury, latterly as Director of Financial Services.

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