The Business On... Martin Wheatley, City Regulator
Thursday 03 February 2011
Do I know him?
If you don't now, you soon will. Yesterday he was given the top job at the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (CPMA), the watchdog that will safeguard the interests of the man in the street when the Financial Services Authority is broken up next year.
So has he spent years championing our interests?
Well, he's currently the boss of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong, their financial regulator, so he knows a bit about policing markets. And before that he spent 18 years working at the London Stock Exchange (LSE), so he's pretty familiar with the intricacies of Britain's financial services industry.
Do they rate him in Hong Kong?
People say he has raised the SFC's game, with a focus on insider dealing cases. He also won more than £500m of compensation for bond savers who lost out when Lehman Brothers collapsed. That wasn't enough for some savers, however. The settlements provoked demonstrations outside the SFC's headquarters that saw protesters burn pictures of Mr Wheatley while blasting the building with Chinese funereal music.
So London should be a doddle after that?
Don't bet on it. The CPMA is a tough gig. The thing about consumer protection is that no one notices you until a scandal blows up – then you become public enemy number one.
So why does he want the job?
Well, it will be a high-profile return to the UK for Mr Wheatley. He left after being made redundant from his post as deputy chief executive of the LSE. Insiders say he was upset not to get the top job at the exchange when it came up in 2001 – Dame Clara Furse was appointed instead.
Did they fall out?
There has been a bit of gossip that Mr Wheatley didn't get on with his new boss. But Dame Clara is on the panel currently making nominations for the CPMA job to the Chancellor, so she must think highly enough of him to recommend him for this job.
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