Finance

FCA’s lead supervisor for asset managers quits: ‘It’s a big loss’

The Financial Conduct Authority’s head of asset management Nick Miller is set to leave the watchdog to join ratings agency Moody’s.

Miller, who has led the UK markets regulator’s supervision of institutional asset managers for almost five years, told industry peers of his plans to move on from the watchdog in a 16 November email seen by Financial News.

“I am… leaving the FCA in the New Year to join Moody’s. So I will not be engaging in supervisory work from now onwards,” the email said.

Miller was a former head of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at US bank Morgan Stanley, whose near-eight year career at the FCA also includes stints as its head of international affairs and head of EU and global affairs.

His 16 November email did not detail what role he would be taking on at the ratings agency.

“It’s a big loss,” an industry veteran with knowledge of the move said. “He’s a hard person to replace.”

A person familiar with the matter said Miller’s replacement had yet to be announced.

READ Ex-FCA staff fear talent drain amid bonus cuts

Miller’s departure comes amid fears of brain drain at the regulator.

FN reported in early November that the FCA had lost 49 senior employees from its supervisory and enforcement teams as part of a voluntary resignation programme. The news stoked fears that star workers were fleeing the regulator as it battles a morale crisis and backlogs created by Brexit and the pandemic.

Some 93 senior staff took advantage of the UK markets regulator’s so-called ‘mutually agreed resignation scheme’ — or Mars — in the year to April 2021, FN reported in June. The FCA’s annual report, published on 15 July, said the cost of the scheme amounted to more than £7m.

The voluntary departures have also coincided with a period of falling staff morale at the watchdog, which has been by the headwinds of Brexit and the shift to remote working since former London Stock Exchange boss Nikhil Rathi took the reins in October 2020.

As part of a plan to reform the culture at the watchdog, Rathi kicked off a consultation in September to overhaul pay and conditions in bid to attract the best and brightest to the FCA through a renewed focus on performance-related pay.

Proposed changes to employees’ salaries and bonus payments have caused upset amongst FCA staff, however.

Four ex-regulators told FN in October that the potential changes could see more seasoned workers move into the private sector for better pay and promotion prospects.

The proposals also prompted some staff to push to join union Unite.

READ FCA pushes back against Unite’s union ultimatum

Staff efforts to unionise ramped up in October when Unite launched its petition to be officially recognised as the union for FCA staff. However, on 16 November FCA’s chief people officer Siobhán Sheridan pushed back against Unite’s efforts to force the watchdog to respond to requests for its workers to unionise.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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