Hong Kong securities regulator CEO to lead UK financial watchdog

Ashley Alder, the CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, will become the next chair of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority.

In a Friday announcement, the U.K. Treasury said it had appointed Alder to chair the country’s financial watchdog starting in January 2023. He will succeed interim FCA chair Richard Lloyd, who took office following Charles Randell’s departure in May.

Alder has led the Hong Kong securities regulator since 2011 and also chaired the International Organization of Securities Commissions, or IOSCO. In a March report from the IOSCO, Adler said decentralized finance was “a novel and fast-growing area of financial services” but posed potential risks as the industry grew.

In his acceptance to chair the FCA, Alder said the financial watchdog would help “chart the U.K.’s post-Brexit future as a global financial centre which continues to support innovation and competition through its own world-leading regulatory standards.” The U.K. regulator monitors roughly 51,000 financial services firms and financial markets across the country.

Related: Ideas vs. practice: How are regulators working together on crypto?

Alder’s appointment came amid the FCA announcing the hiring of 500 additional staff members in 2022 as part of a three-year strategy, which includes “proactively [shaping] the digitalization of financial services through developing our regulatory approaches to digital markets.” Matthew Long of the National Crime Agency will become director of the FCA’s payments and digital assets unit starting in October.

The U.K. government experienced mass resignations in the last seven days amid reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson promoted former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher to a senior position while knowing about allegations of groping. Johnson resigned on Thursday following notices of departure from more than 50 members of parliament including Chancellor of the Exchequer for the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak and Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen.

Nadhim Zahaw has taken over for Sunak as chancellor of the Exchequer, while Reuters reported on Friday that MP Richard Fuller had been appointed the next U.K. economic secretary.

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