Simon Morris, a financial services partner with CMS, described the lack of a “customary second term” as “surprising” and questioned whether it had been either declined or simply not offered.
“The FCA is giving no clues, but this unusual situation suggests that either Mr Randell is disenchanted with the FCA’s current direction or, perhaps more likely, is stepping down as an acknowledgement of the chair’s responsibility over the FCA’s failures in regulating London Capital,” he added.
Failures of the FCA featured in a large amount of comments regarding Randell’s tenure, particularly from Gina and Alan Miller of the True & Fair Campaign, who have previously called for his resignation.
Speaking on Twitter, the pair described Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s comments on Randell’s departure as “an insult to millions of victims of regulatory failures at the FCA on Randell and Bailey’s watch”.
They added that whoever succeeds the outgoing chair “must address the anti-consumer culture he oversaw”.
Not all have been so negative on Randell’s tenure, including Liz Field, chief executive of the Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association, who argued that while the regulator needs reform, the chair had been an important figure in advocating for such change.
“The FCA is not perfect, as recent scandals illustrate, and it does need to reform, but Charles has been instrumental in recognising that need for reform and in working to achieve change,” she said.
Chair of the Treasury Committee Mel Stride added:
“Charles Randell has helped to steer the FCA through a challenging period, and I want to acknowledge his assistance in helping the Committee in its vital work of scrutinising the FCA. We wish him the very best for the future. The Committee will follow closely the process for the appointment of Charles’s successor.”
Nick Bayley, former head of department in the FCA markets policy and international division and current managing director for financial services compliance and regulation at Kroll, spoke to his hopes that Randell was not “the captain deserting a sinking ship,” and added that it is “in no-one’s interest to have a regulator in turmoil”.
Staff morale at the FCA is particularly low, with a combination of recent scandals and a new pay review adding to the feelings of demoralisation.
Unite national officer Dominic Hook described “unprecedented numbers” of FCA staff joining the trade union in an attempt to make their voices heard and put their demands on the table.
“Staff at the FCA are demoralised by the consultation launched by the CEO in September and feel it is a poor way to reward FCA staff who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to deliver credit card and mortgage payment holidays that were a lifeline to people up and down the country,” he said.
“The significant growth in trade union membership demonstrates that the recognition of an independent trade union at the FCA is long overdue.
“Now is the time for the FCA to agree to staff demands that they engage with Unite.”