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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence