The City watchdog increased its scrutiny of the appointment of senior managers at financial services firms last year as part of its efforts to tighten up its regulatory supervision, according to data to be published today.
The number of vetting interviews by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rose by a third in 2017 to reach 183, according to figures obtained by legal advisory firm Cleveland and Co.
The 2017 tally was the highest in each of the last five years, compared to 138 in 2016 and 145 in 2013.
The FCA interviews managers in so-called significant influence functions at firms it deems to be “higher-impact”, such as big banks. The interviews typically cover people applying for roles such as chair, chief executive, senior board positions or finance and risk chiefs.
There is no formal exam, but the regulator says it requires applicants to “demonstrate experience, competence and knowledge”. However, it has faced criticism in recent years over its vetting of senior finance figures, following scandals such as the belated ban for former Co-operative Bank chair Paul Flowers.
Emma Cleveland, managing director of Cleveland & Co, says: “The jump in the number of interviews taking place shows that the FCA is setting the bar higher for senior managers if they want to lead financial services firms.”