UK's current account switching service gets new independent directors

Source: Bacs Payment Schemes

Two new independent directors have been appointed by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs) to the Current Account Switch Service Executive Committee, fulfilling a key undertaking set out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The appointment of Chris Pond and Faith Reynolds further strengthens governance of the switching service and ensures wider representation in the decision-making process from the likes of consumer groups and small businesses, meeting the requirement set out in the CMA’s investigation into the personal current account market last year.

Former MP and Work and Pensions Minister Chris Pond is currently vice chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission and serves as a member of the Treasury FinTech Delivery Panel, as well as being a trustee of GambleAware and of the Family and Childcare Trust. He also chairs the Lending Standards Board and The Money Charity.

Previously Director of Financial Capability and Head of Consumer Affairs at the Financial Services Authority, and Chief Executive of two national charities (Gingerbread and the Low Pay Unit), Chris has written extensively on economics and social policy and has been awarded honorary visiting professorships at two universities.

An independent consumer finance expert, Faith Reynolds is a member of the Financial Services Consumer Panel where she chairs the EU Working Group and is the lead for technology and innovation. A member of the Payments Strategy Forum, Faith acts as the Customer Representative on the Open Banking Implementation Entity Steering Committee and recently authored the report, 'Open Banking: A Consumer Perspective'.

Having also recently joined the RegTech Council, Faith previously spent time at the Institute for Government undertaking research on Big Society, earning her the Clore Social Leadership Fellowship. She established Toynbee Hall’s financial inclusion services in the heart of London’s East End and was a member of HM Treasury’s Financial Inclusion Taskforce.

The announcement follows the appointment of Jo Kenrick as the first Independent Chair of the CASS Executive Committee, in December 2016. Welcoming the two new directors, Jo said: “We are pleased that, in Chris and Faith, we have been able to attract two hugely knowledgeable and respected figures, who bring with them an impressive depth and breadth of skills which will be invaluable in further driving forward the Current Account Switch Service.

“I’m also particularly delighted that Chris and Faith represent, and will give a strong voice to, a range of important interests, which can only help us in meeting the needs of all those who can benefit from switching account. I look forward to working with both in the coming weeks and months as we continue this important work.”

Colin Garland, Director, Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis at the CMA, said: “If you want the best deal on your banking, shopping around for a current account is one way to make sure you get it. Our extensive investigation into the retail banking sector highlighted the importance of making it as easy as possible for people to switch accounts.

“The quick, easy and free Current Account Switch Service is designed to make the switching process easier, so it is important that it works for those who use it and not just those who run it.
The appointments of Jo Kenrick, Chris Pond and Faith Reynolds provide the independence CASS needs to work in the interests of banking customers.” 

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