FCA boosts data strategy with new executive hires
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made a handful of new hires among its executive team to drive its data transformation project.
Stephanie Cohen (chief operating officer (COO)), Jessica Rusu (chief data, information and intelligence officer), Sarah Pritchard (executive director for markets), and Emily Sheppard (executive director for authorisations) have joined the regulator.
The hires are part of a transformation programme the FCA kicked off in December. It brought together two supervision divisions with the FCA’s policy and competition functions.
The four new appointments arrived after a “rigorous and wide-ranging recruitment processes.”
Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, says the four bring “a deep understanding of the consumers we seek to protect, the markets we oversee, and all have track records for operational excellence.”
Rathi adds that their experience is “vital” as the FCA builds itself as a “data-led regulator”.
Cohen, Rusu, Pritchard, and Sheppard all join the FCA’s leadership team, meaning that more than half of the FCA’s executive committee are women.
Cohen and Rusu
Cohen, as the new COO, is responsible for the FCA’s operations and business performance, systems and infrastructure, and finances.
She arrives with two decades of experience, including 14 years at BlackRock where she held the position of global COO.
“I am truly delighted to be joining the FCA at this pivotal moment,” she says. “Now more than ever, the FCA has a vital role to play in protecting the interests of consumers, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Rusu steps into a newly created role at the FCA. She leads the transformation of the FCA’s use of data in overseeing the more than 60,000 firms it regulates.
Rusu will also lead the watchdog’s relationship with Big Tech companies, fintechs, and the data science community.
She joins from Chetwood Financial, where she currently works as chief data officer. Rusu has also worked at eBay Europe, Ford Motor Company, and GE Capital.
“I am excited to join the FCA at this time of great transformation to leverage technology and data science to deliver innovation and excellence in regulation,” says Rusu.
Cohen and Rusu will join the FCA June 2021. The regulator says both will “deliver operational excellence and build the FCA’s data and intelligence analytics capabilities”.
Pritchard and Sheppard
Pritchard takes over the delivery of the FCA’s statutory market integrity objective in the newly combined supervision division.
She joins from the National Economic Crime Centre, where she is a director. Before joining the NECC, Pritchard worked in risk and compliance at HSBC. She also trained as a commercial litigator with Decherts LLP.
Pritchard joins in June 2021 to work alongside Sheldon Mills, consumer and competition director.
She says she looks forward to ensuring that the FCA “protects and enhances the integrity of the UK and global financial system.”
Sheppard joins the FCA in March, and will oversee authorisations, which the regulator describes as “the gateway” for firms and individuals aiming to work in the industry.
Sheppard was most recently director of customer services and change at Aegon UK. Prior to that she spent time as EMEA COO for Bank of New York Mellon. During her time at BNY Mellon, she chaired AFME’s technology and operations group.
She says: “I am excited to be joining the FCA at such a crucial time for financial services in the UK. I look forward to helping ensure both UK markets and consumers are protected.”