Insurers push back with clamour for resignation of FCA chief

Wheatley under fire after plan to probe the insurance industry leaked to media

The head of Britain’s financial regulator admitted that leaking market-sensitive information to a national newspaper was not its “finest hour” as calls for his resignation grew yesterday.

Martin Wheatley has been under pressure since since the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) plan to investigate the insurance industry were handed to The Daily Telegraph, hitting shares in most of the sector’s largest companies on Friday.

A total £2.4bn was wiped off the value of insurers such as Aviva, Legal & General, Resolution and Prudential after the FCA’s director of supervision was quoted as saying that the regulator planned to examine 30 million old policies.

The FCA was later forced to clarify its position and announce a far less wide-ranging and potentially costly review of closed life policies.

“Whenever markets move like they did on Friday there is always scrutiny,” Mr Wheatley told a conference yesterday.

“This was clearly not the FCA’s finest hour but it does serve as a timely reminder to all parties involved of the care and thought that is needed when handling significant amounts of information we hold as part of going about our business.”

The Association of British Insurers is now understood to be planning to write to the Chancellor, George Osborne, outlining its issues and demanding Mr Wheatley’s resignation.

One insurer told The Independent: “If any of us had briefed market-sensitive information to a single media outlet we would have been in big trouble ... ironically with the FCA.” 

Mr Wheatley’s comments came after the FCA revealed that it will need an extra £14.3m this year.

The FCA said in its business plan published yesterday that its annual funding requirement would rise from £432.1m to £446.4m – an inflation-busting increase of 3.3 per cent.

He said the bulk of the increase in fees charged would fall on larger firms and that 42 per cent of the firms regulated by the FCA would pay the minimum annual fee of £1,000 a year.

The regulator plans to look at conflicts of interest in investment banks and how they ensure confidential information received by one part of the business is not abused by other areas.

Fund managers will also come under close scrutiny in the coming year with the focus landing on their trading activities and their dealings with clients.

Also at the top of the regulator’s list will be working  on how banks can reduce  the risk of traders manipulating key benchmarks in  the wake of the Libor scandal and the ongoing reviews of alleged currency and gold rigging.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links