Posted inPeople Moves

Hong Kong regulatory boss to become new FCA chair

Ashley Adler spent decades at top City law firm much like his predecessor Charles Randell.
Ashley Alder, Securities and Futures Commission

Ashley Alder, the boss of Hong Kong’s securities watchdog, has been selected to replace Charles Randell as the new chair of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Former Which? boss Richard Lloyd has been serving as interim chair since 1 June. Randell vacated his role a year before his term was due to end, as criticisms against the FCA mounted over its handling of a series of scandals, including the implosion of Neil Woodford’s equity income fund. 

Campaigners had urged HM Treasury not to give the “crucial role to another conflicted City insider,” noting Randell’s background as a partner at Slaughter and May and his predecessor John Griffith-Jones’ ties to professional services firms in London.

Adler, who is expected to begin his five-year term in January 2023, began his career as a lawyer in London in 1984, before moving to Hong Kong where he headed up the Asia division at Herbert Smith, another top City firm.

In 2011, he became chief executive officer of the Securities and Future Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong, where he had previously served as an executive director in the corporate finance division.

He also currently chairs the board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and sits on the Financial Stability Board’s plenary and steering committees.

Two years ago, he was in the running to become top boss at the regulator, after Andrew Bailey was Bank of England bound.

The role was ultimately given to Nikhil Rathi, who was CEO of the London Stock Exchange at the time.

Rathi has launched a transformation programme to help the regulator become more “proactive” and “assertive”. But the overhaul has enraged many staffers, prompting strikes over pay and working conditions.

Commenting on Adler’s appointment Lloyd said: “We are looking forward to working with Ashley as he takes over the leadership of the FCA’s board next year.

“As the FCA continues to strengthen its vital work to protect consumers and our financial markets, his deep experience of leading a major international regulator will help us deliver our ambitious strategy for the future.”

Part of the Mark Allen Group.