Treasury set to name Turner as FSA head

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Adair Turner could be named as the new chairman of the Fin-ancial Services Authority as soon as the end of next week, it emerged yesterday, ending months of speculation about who would take the helm at the City watchdog.

The Treasury, which is responsible for hiring senior FSA staff, would not confirm yesterday that Lord Turner would be handed the job. However, a spokesman did say that the Government would be willing to appoint a part-time chair for the 434,000 a year job. Lord Turner heads the government's committee on climate change and is understood to be unwilling to give up the role for the FSA.

"We are concerned with getting the right candidate for the job," said the Treasury spokes-man. "There are lots of good organisations that are run by a three or four day-a-week chairman and the fact that someone has another job would not preclude them. The chairman will have a very able group of people working on a day-to-day basis."

If Lord Turner is appointed, the decision to hire a part-time chairman would be controversial. The FSA has been trying to recover its reputation after the nationalisation of Northern Rock, when the authority criticised its own handling of the crisis, saying that the FSA had allowed the bank to break its rules on capital rules.

It is not known if Lord Turner would continue in his numerous other roles. He is a non-executive director of Standard Chartered Bank and United Business Media, which recently announced it is planning to move its tax base to the Republic of Ireland. Companies in Ireland pay 12.5 per cent corporation tax, compared with 28 per cent in the UK. Lord Turner is also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

The Treasury did not rule an announcement next week but said that a replacement for Sir Callum McCarthy would definitely be confirmed by the time Parliament rose for its summer recess in July. The new chairman will take office in September.

Lord Turner, who headed the CBI between 1995 and 2000, is thought to have beaten off a host of other candidates for the FSA job, including former HBOS chief executive Sir James Crosby and Bob Wigley, who heads Merrill Lynch's European operations. He is no stranger to senior appointments under the Labour government, having chaired the inquiry into the state of UK pensions since 2002.