Investor Impact: Martin Wheatley appointed head of new financial watchdog

2nd February 2011

Investors now know the man who will head the new financial watchdog for the UK. Martin Wheatley was, until recently, the head of Hong Kong's financial watchdog the Securities and Futures Commission.

He will now take over at the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority, the body due to replace the current watchdog FSA, when the FSA loses its power to supervise bank balance sheets to the Bank of England.

Should this matter to professional and retail investors? Well certainly for retail investors it might, if they ever need to make a complaint or if they hope to receive compensation if an investment plan or policy goes wrong and the firm has gone bust.

For professional market participants, he is the man who clamped down on insider trading in Hong Kong where the practice was, until relatively recently, broadly accepted.

But he also came in for flak from the Hong Kong investing public who were left with seemingly worthless Lehmans structured products sold as mini-bonds in the territory.  Irate Hong Kong investors burnt his picture outside the SFC offices which led the Telegraph to ask recently is he the right person for the UK.

For a very technical view of this and to get a feel for how he handled the Lehmans issue, here is a recent interview on  

Financial blog site, themoneydebate, suggests that Wheatley may be fit the ‘markets' part of the CPMA brief but asks does he know enough about consumer protection.

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