Decision by Martin Wheatley and eight colleagues to defer payments is expected to be published in July annual report

FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley is to defer his annual bonus amid an ongoing probe into a briefing by the regulator that wiped billions of pounds from the value of UK insurers.

Wheatley and eight colleagues on the FCA’s executive committee have decided not to accept any discretionary payments for last year until the inquiry is completed.

The FCA has set aside £1.7m for the cost of the inquiry into its mishandled media briefing, although it has spent only a small fraction of that sum so far, Sky News reports.

During a news briefing In March, director of supervision Clive Adamson told the Telegraph that the FCA planned to review 30 million life insurance policies sold between the 1970s and early 2000s. Market reaction to the story wiped billions of pounds from the value of life insurers.

The FCA took more than six hours to issue a clarification that it was not planning to individually review the policies, but that it was embarking on supervisory work about the fair treatment of life insurance customers.

Share prices bounced back after the clarification, confirming fears that the market was trading on inaccurate information.

According to reports, the investigation is being led by City law firm Clifford Chance while Wheatley and his colleagues are represented by Kingsley Napley.

Apart from Adamson and Wheatley, the other members of the FCA executive committee are director of markets David Lawton; general counsel Sean Martin; director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott; director of communications Zitah McMillan; director of authorisations Victoria Raffe; chief operating officer Lesley Titcomb; and director of policy, risk and research Chris Woolard.

Their decision to defer the payments is expected to be disclosed in the FCA’s annual report, which will be published on July 10.