The former group general counsel at NatWest Group is joining the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to head its new regulatory decisions committee.
Christopher Fitzgerald was general counsel at the bank for five years, before which he was head of banking and executive partner for finance at Slaughter and May. He left NatWest in 2000 after it merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland. At the FSA, Fitzgerald will head a new regulatory decisions committee, which will be at the heart of the decision-making process for authorisation, enforcement and other key regulatory matters. FSA deputy chairman Stewart Boyd said: "For more fundamental regulatory decisions, the board is establishing a regulatory decisions committee, which will be responsible for things such as refusing applications for authorisation, cancelling permission to conduct regulated activities, disciplinary cases, for example those which may lead to fines or public censure, and other decisions that fundamentally affect the nature of what a firm is permitted to do." Fitzgerald joined Slaughter and May in 1967 and became a partner in 1976. He left in 1995 for NatWest, where he was also a member of the executive directors' committee. He is now aged 55. He was unavailable for comment as The Lawyer went to press. Boyd added: "We might, for instance, be mindful to prevent a firm from taking on new business or from handling client money; or we might need to require a firm to take its sale force off the road for an extended period. In cases like this, the decision will not be taken by staff, but by the regulatory decisions committee." The rest of the committee will include current and recently retired practitioners and individuals representing the public interest who have been appointed by the FSA Board. Boyd said: "A key role in these arrangements is that of the chairman of the committee. I'm very pleased that Christopher, with his distinguished legal background and long experience of the FSA, has agreed to take on this key role."