The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that Chris Woolard will chair a review of the future regulation of the unsecured credit market, reporting to the FCA Board.
The Review will concentrate on how regulation can better support a healthy unsecured lending market. It will take into account the impact of the coronavirus on employment security and credit scores, changes in business models and new developments in unsecured lending including the growth of unregulated products in retail and the workplace. He will be assisted by an advisory group and will make recommendations to the FCA Board in early 2021.
The Review will be an important building block for the FCA’s Consumer Credit business priority, which it announced as part of its 2020/21 Business Plan in April of this year and which seeks to ensure that consumer credit markets work well.
Chris Woolard will be stepping down from the FCA Board and any executive or decision-making roles from 1 October 2020. Following the completion of the Review, Mr Woolard will be moving on from the FCA. He will not take up any external appointment until at least six months after the end of his executive role.
Chris Woolard said:
'It has been a tremendous honour to serve as chief executive of the FCA at such a critical time for the country and financial services. I’d like to thank my many colleagues over the last eight years for all their help and support. I am delighted to be asked to lead a timely and significant review where access to sustainable credit is of great importance to so many people.'
Charles Randell, Chair of the FCA, said:
'I am grateful for Chris’s contribution to the FCA, particularly during the last 6 months as he has led us through the coronavirus crisis with huge energy and skill. Chris’s deep understanding of the unsecured credit market makes him the ideal person to advise the Board on the development of regulation to support sustainable unsecured lending. Unsecured lending can be critical to helping people through tough times but can cause serious harm if it’s not well regulated.'
Nikhil Rathi becomes permanent chief executive of the FCA from 1 October 2020.
Chris Woolard joined the FCA in 2013 as part of the executive committee. He has served on the board since 2015 and became interim CEO in March 2020. He has led the FCA’s strategy and competition work including the cap on payday lending and market studies across wholesale and retail banking, asset management and insurance. He has led the FCA’s interests in fintech, Project Innovate and the FCA’s Sandbox. Most recently as interim CEO he has led the FCA’s response to Covid-19.
The advisory group will include individuals from outside the FCA with extensive expertise in consumer interests and unsecured lending, as well as Therese Chambers, FCA Director leading the FCA’s Consumer Credit business priority. The composition of the advisory group and the detailed terms of reference for the Review will be published in due course.