Financial Conduct Authority to open offices in Cardiff, Belfast and Leeds

, Financial Conduct Authority to open offices in Cardiff, Belfast and Leeds, The Nzuchi Times Guardian

The UK’s financial watchdog is planning to increase its presence outside the capital by opening new offices in Cardiff, Belfast and Leeds, as it follows the Bank of England and Treasury’s attempts to become less London-centric.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which also expects to double its headcount in Edinburgh to 200 staff over the next two years, said the moves were meant to reflect the fact that is supervises companies across the country, not just in the City of London.

“We are a regulator for the whole of the UK,” the FCA said as it released its latest business plan on Thursday. “Alongside our ongoing strong commitment to presences in London and Edinburgh, we are developing a national location strategy.”

The FCA – which currently employs about 4,000 staff, primarily in London – said it was considering following in the footsteps of other regulators and government departments by opening a new northern hub in Leeds, where it would host at least 100 staff in its first phase, which will be under way by the end of 2022. It said decisions about the kinds of roles and total number of employees that would be based in the city long-term were still to be determined.

, Financial Conduct Authority to open offices in Cardiff, Belfast and Leeds, The Nzuchi Times Guardian

It comes just months after chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Treasury would create a new campus in Darlington and make Leeds the headquarters for the UK’s new infrastructure bank.

The Bank of England followed suit in April, announcing plans to move some staff out of London to Leeds, where it expects to build a “substantial presence”, and expand on its existing network of regional agents, who act as the “eyes and ears” of policymakers by keeping in touch with local developments.

The FCA said it would also open offices in Belfast and Cardiff by the end of the year, marking the first time it has had a permanent presence in Wales and Northern Ireland. “We recognise the importance of engagement with devolved administrations and legislatures, as the different nations of the UK may have different needs and views,” the regulator said.

The regulator is not expected to shift existing employees out of London, and is likely to populate the new offices primarily through new hires. However, it is likely to take advantage of natural turnover of staff, and shift London-based roles up north once employees leave the FCA. While the exact nature of the roles outside London is still to be determined, they are likely to include key supervisory roles, rather than just back office staff.

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