Payment Systems Regulator appoints three departmental heads

Source: The Payment Systems Regulator

The Payment Systems Regulator, the economic regulator for the UK's £75 trillion payments industry, has appointed three heads of department to help lead the new organisation. The Payment Systems Regulator becomes operational on 1 April 2015.

The new appointments are:

  • Carole Begent as head of legal. Carole joins from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) where she is Senior Legal Director - Mergers, Markets and Sector Regulation. She will start her new role on 1 April 2015.
  • Mark Falcon as head of regulatory policy and strategy. Mark joins from Hutchison 3G UK (Three) where he is head of economic regulation. He will start his new role on 2 March 2015.
  • Louise Buckley as head of stakeholder engagement and communications. Louise joins from Stracey Wheeler Consulting Ltd where she is a director and senior communications consultant, most recently working with Ofqual, the UK’s qualifications, examinations, and assessments regulator. She will start her new role on 26 January 2015.

More detailed biographies for the new appointments can be found below. More information about the Payment Systems Regulator can be found online.

Hannah Nixon, the Payment Systems Regulator’s managing director, commenting on the appointments, said:

“Carole, Mark and Louise bring with them a wealth of experience that will be invaluable in helping deliver our objectives of promoting competition and innovation in payment systems, and ensuring the interests of service users are always at heart. I am delighted to have secured their services at this crucial time.

“We have accomplished much since we were incorporated last year, not least our November consultation paper that set out a comprehensive road map for regulation. Our focus is now on finalising our approach then delivering it as we go live in April. Carole, Mark, and Louise will play vital roles in driving forward this agenda.

The Payment Systems Regulator is an independent economic regulator which was incorporated in April 2014 and becomes operational on 1 April 2015. Payment systems enable people to spend and transfer money and underpin the UK’s everyday financial activity. Everything from withdrawing money from a cash machine, paying a bill, making a payment by cheque, receiving your pension, and high value payments between the banks uses a payment system.

Biographical notes

Carole Begent

Carole is Senior Legal Director, Mergers, Markets and Regulatory Appeals at the CMA, leading 35 lawyers providing legal advice across different directorates. A member of the Senior Management team, she reports to the General Counsel and to the CMA Board on legal issues arising in mergers, markets and regulation. She has extensive knowledge and expertise in competition, regulatory law, public law in advisory, policy development and litigation contexts.

Between March 2000 and March 2014 Carole was Deputy Chief Legal Adviser and Head of International at the Competition Commission (CC), managing its legal team of 15 plus leading the CC’s representation internationally at OECD and the ICN and the EU Mergers Working Group.  She led the successful defence of CC decisions, including appeals by BAA, Ryanair and BSkyB to Court of Appeal. Seconded to the Department for Transport in 2009 she served as Head of Railway Infrastructure and Safety Legal Division.

Prior to that, between 1997 and 2000, she worked at the Office of Rail Regulator as a legal adviser. Between 1994 and 1997 Carole was also a legal adviser at OFWAT as well as its head of competition policy and – in an earlier role - its head of consumer complaints. In both roles she was a member of the Concurrency Working Group, now succeeded by the UK Competition Network. 

Mark Falcon

Since 2010 Mark has been Head of Economic Regulation at Hutchison 3G UK (Three), the UK mobile network operator, part of the 3 Group. Leading Three’s regulatory strategy, he led its fourth-generation (4G) UK mobile licence auction bid team. Mark has also led numerous major strategic regulatory objectives, including UK/EU mergers, international roaming rate regulation, and UK/EU government broadband/spectrum policy and regulation. Mark is currently Chair of the Mobile Operators Association and Vice-Chair of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum. He is also chief economic adviser to Three’s parent, 3 Group, and Hutchison Whampoa Europe, present in infrastructure, retail, ports, property and telecoms.

Since 2011 Mark has volunteered as a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Treasury Committee. In this role he has advised the committee and its staff, and reviewed draft inquiry reports and preparation for hearings, including the Independent Commission on Banking, The Future of Cheques, and Competition and Choice in Retail Banking.  

Between 1999 and 2010 Mark worked at the economic consultancy, Frontier Economics, with him latterly establishing its Financial Services practice.

Louise Buckley

Since 2012 Louise has been director of communications consultancy, Stracey Wheeler Consulting Ltd. Most recently she worked with Ofqual leading communications and stakeholder engagement through the Summer 2013 and 2014 GCSE and A level results. She also led on the development of the organisation’s communications strategy for the reform of GCSE and A levels.

Louise has also worked with the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) helping it re-brand parts of its business, as well as develop and manage a change communications strategy to support a re-structure.

In Autumn 2010 Louise became director of stakeholder and ministerial engagement at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) where she was charged with improving BIS’ reputation with its stakeholders. She also worked across Government, and closely with key stakeholders, to develop and implement the Government’s marketing and communications strategy on increased tuition fees for higher education.

Between 2008 and 2010 she worked at the Better Regulation Executive, part of BIS, as its director of communications and operations, driving forward its ‘reducing regulation’ agenda across Government. Between 1996 and 2008 Louise worked at the Financial Services Authority, now superseded by the Financial Conduct Authority, in a number supervision and communications roles, culminating in her heading up the strategic communications function.


  1. In November the Payment Systems Regulator set out how it proposed to regulate the UK payment systems industry. The consultation is now closed, but can be viewed online. The Payment Systems Regulator will publish a policy statement, setting out its final approach, in March 2015.
  2. The Payment Systems Regulator will be funded by the firms it regulates and its fees and levies will be collected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In November the FCA published a consultation paper setting out proposed fees and levies for 2015/2016, including a chapter (chapter 2) on the Payment Systems Regulator.
  3. The Payment Systems Regulator was incorporated on 1 April 2014 and becomes fully operational on 1 April 2015. It is operationally separate to the Financial Conduct Authority, with its own managing director and Board.
  4. Once operational the Payment Systems Regulator will regulate Bacs, CHAPS, Cheque and Credit Clearing, Faster Payments, LINK, MasterCard, Northern Ireland Cheque Clearing and Visa. For each designated payment system, all the participants will fall under the Payment Systems Regulator’s remit. Therefore, as well as the payment system operators, the Payment Systems Regulator will also have oversight of payment services providers using that system (such as a high street bank), and the infrastructure providers to the payment system (such as VocaLink).
  5. The Payment Systems Regulator has three objectives: to promote effective competition in the markets for payment systems and the services they provide; to promote innovation in payment systems; and to ensure payment systems are operated and developed in the interests of service users.

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