Ex-FCA boss Wheatley returns to finance at hedge fund

Wheatley finds role with Hong Kong hedge fund after gardening leave

Martin Wheatley

Former FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley has resurfaced in the world of finance as an adviser for a Hong-Kong based hedge fund.

Wheatley took the helm of the FCA when it was formed in 2013 after holding senior roles at predecessor regulator the Financial Services Authority.

However, he resigned in July 2015 after then Chancellor George Osborne refused to renew his contract, citing the need for “different leadership” at the top of the regulator.

After a 12-month notice period and six months gardening leave, Wheatley has now joined the advisory board of equity investors and hedge fund Oasis Management, returning to Hong-Kong where he used to run the Securities and Futures Commission.

Wheatey also told the Financial Times that he was lining up a number of projects in the financial technology sector.

Both short selling and insider trading at hedge funds caught Wheatley’s eyes when he was a regulator as he introduced measures in Hong Kong to improve short selling transparency.

Wheatley told the paper: “I think that regulators and politicians in particular have always misunderstood hedge funds and been a little afraid of them.

“I had to take a significant stand on short selling, both in Hong Kong as head of the SFC and also globally as chair of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions [short selling] working group, to try to get sanity to prevail in 2008 and 2009 when short selling and hedge funds were seen by many as the problem.

“It wasn’t — but that didn’t stop a witch hunt that was quite hard to contain.”

Wheatley was known for his bold statements as a regulator, including that he would “shoot first ask questions later” of firms.

He was paid £701,000 in 2014/15, his final full year with the regulator, including a £92,000 bonus.

Former director of supervision and authorisations Tracey McDermott took over the chief executive role on an interim basis following Wheatley’s departure, before joining Standard Chartered and handing over to former Prudential Regulation Authority boss Andrew Bailey.

Oasis owns few UK investments, but does have a spot on the board of Premier Foods after building up a stake in the group which will increase to 10 per cent by the end of June next year.