After spending half a decade as the head of London Stock Exchange’s UK division, Nikhil Rathi has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The financial markets watchdog of the United Kingdom, the FCA, will now for the first time in nearly four months have a full-time CEO since the departure of Andrew Bailey who left for the Bank of England earlier this year. But who is Nikhil Rathi, the man who will keep an eye on the UK’s financial markets and close to 59,000 financial services firms for a five-year-long period?
Born in 1979 and educated at Oxford, Nikhil Rathi has been heading affairs at the London Stock Exchange’s UK division since 2014 and is not a new name for the officials at the UK’s treasury office where he worked for over a decade. Nikhil Rathi worked as director of the financial services group, leading international legislative negotiations in the European Union. Many believe Nikhil Rathi is also well equipped to deal with the challenges that might come his way amid the current pandemic that is wreaking havoc across the globe, helped by his experience as head of the financial stability unit during the 2008 financial crisis.
The FCA is the UK’s financial markets watchdog, of over 59,000 financial services firms. Among its three key responsibilities are, protecting consumers, enhancing market integrity, and promoting competition. The FCA works independently of the government of Britain.
Nikhil Rathi on his appointment underlined the need for focusing on vulnerable consumers and playing a part in tackling climate change. However, his biggest challenge will be to see how the debt burden that the coronavirus pandemic has left will be tackled. According to the Financial Times, the FCA is already facing flack for failing to do its part under the former interim CEO. With the appointment of Nikhil Rathi, experts are waiting to see what steps he would take to ensure fair play in the financial markets.
The new FCA boss will now be the second man of Indian-origin to sit in a position of such authority in the world of finance in the United Kingdom after Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law Infosys co-founder, N R Narayana Murthy, took over as the Chancellor of Exchequer in February this year when the coronavirus pandemic started hitting England and has been battling the financial fall-out of the pandemic across the country since then.