The new executive committee will bring a ‘highly complementary skillset,’ says chief executive

The FCA has appointed two new executive directors to co-lead its enforcement and market oversight as the regulator looks to become “more assertive”.

Therese Chambers and Steve Smart will take over from Mark Steward, who will step down on 13 April 2023 after seven years with the regulator.

The FCA claimed the new appointments supported its “ongoing transformation to become a more assertive, more adaptive and more innovative regulator”.

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, said the two new appointees would be a “powerful combination” and bring a “complementary skillset”.

“Enforcement is a key regulatory tool allowing us to hold firms and individuals to account for wrongdoing and helping to reduce and prevent serious harm to consumers and in markets,” he said.

The regulator’s enforcement-focused appointments presage the upcoming implementation of the FCA’s Consumer Duty regulation on 31 July this year. 

Consumer Duty imposes new requirements on insurance firms to end “rip-off” charges and fees and provide helpful and accessible customer support, among other outcomes based on a new standard of fairness.

“We are committed to acting faster and more effectively, putting the power of technology, data and intelligence at the heart of our enforcement operations,” added Rathi. 

“I thank Mark again for his remarkable seven years of service.”

Critical importance

Chambers has worked at the FCA for more than 20 years, spending most of her time with the regulator working in enforcement.

Her time with the FCA included roles as director of retail and regulatory investigations.

She is currently the director of consumer investments in the supervision, policy and competition division.

She will take up her new role as executive director of the enforcement and market oversight on 1 April 2023.

Chambers said: “The work of the enforcement and market oversight division is of critical importance in supporting the FCA’s strategy and we will continue to build out our assertive and proactive approach.

“I look forward to working with colleagues on the executive committee and across the FCA as we increasingly use our powers to protect consumers and tackle harm.”

Meanwhile, Smart will join the FCA from the National Crime Agency, where he currently sits on the executive committee as director of intelligence.

Smart, who will take up his new role on 21 June 2023, said he was “really excited” to join the FCA.

“It is a great opportunity to put my experience of leading and developing proactive operational functions and working with partners in the police, wider law enforcement and counterparts overseas to help the FCA to continue to prevent serious harm, set higher standards, and promote competition,” he added.