February 25, 2020 / 11:22 AM / a month ago

Campaigners call for review of Bailey as Bank of England head

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Britain’s finance ministry should review its appointment of Andrew Bailey as the next Bank of England governor because of several financial scandals on his watch at the markets regulator, a consumer campaign group said on Tuesday.

Bailey is chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority and due to become Bank of England Governor on March 16.

True & Fair, which campaigns for transparency on fees in the financial sector, said the shuttering of the Woodford equity fund and the collapse of investment firm London Capital & Finance raised questions about whether Bailey was “fit and proper” to head the central bank.

The Woodford fund was regulated by the FCA. LCF was also regulated by the FCA but the “mini-bonds” it sold were not.

“Andrew Bailey’s tenure as CEO of the FCA has been characterised by a toxic cocktail of negligence, incompetence and indifference to the needs of ordinary depositors, investors and pensioners,” True & Fair co-founder Gina Miller told a news conference to publish its “Asleep at the Wheel” report on the FCA.

Miller said Britain’s new finance minister Rishi Sunak should review the decision by his predecessor, Sajid Javid, to appoint Bailey to replace Mark Carney as governor of the Bank of England from next month.

The finance ministry and Financial Conduct Authority had no immediate comment. The Bank of England said it won’t be commenting on the True & Fair report.

Bailey’s appointment is due to be reviewed by parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, though it does not have powers to block it.

Miller said True & Fair will also launch an online petition to gather 100,000 signatures, the threshold needed to trigger a debate in parliament on Bailey’s appointment.

An independent report into the collapse of LCF is due to report back in the summer. The FCA has already opened its own investigation into Woodford.

Reporting by Huw Jones, editing by Ed Osmond

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