The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has appointed Christopher Fitzgerald as chairman of its new regulatory decisions committee, due to start in August.

Fitzgerald previously worked for law firm Slaughter and May and spent five years at Natwest Group as general counsel.

FSA deputy chairman Stewart Boyd said the committee would be the pinnacle of the FSA's decision-making process for authorisation, enforcement and other key regulatory matters.

“We're setting up the committee to ensure FSA decisions, which go to the heart of regulated firms' and individuals' ability to engage in regulated activities, are taken by a body independent of FSA staff,” Boyd said.

The committee's decisions will include refusal of applications by firms for authorisation, cancellation of permission to conduct regulated activities, disciplinary cases and decisions which fundamentally change the nature of what the firm is permitted to do.

It will comprise current and recently retired people who represent the public interest.

The appointments will be made by the FSA board on the recommendation of the chairman.