Who will be the next Financial Regulator?

The Government hasn’t yet announced who will replace Patrick Neary, the incompetent Financial Regulator, who will retire with a lottery sized golden handshake and a massive pension later this week.

While it’s very difficult to predict who the replacement will be I would put money on the present Consumer Director and (I think) acting regulator Mary O’Dea.

The Government might see the appointment of a woman as a ‘radical’ move in addition to the fact that O’Dea is the only senior director that doesn’t have a Central Bank background.

Consumers, however, shouldn’t get too excited if indeed O’Dea is appointed. She’s just as ruthlessly committed to protecting the vermin that infest the financial sector as all previous regulators.

Prime Time carried out a sting operation last May in which they exposed serious mis-selling to the elderly by a number of financial institutions.

According to Ms. O’Dea there was no evidence to suggest there was a widespread problem across the industry but according to the Financial Ombudsman, Joe Meade, the practice is a serious problem.

When O’Dea was asked if the regulator’s conclusion that there wasn’t a serious problem was based on self reporting by the financial companies she said.

“It was based on asking companies at a senior level to examine their files and to look at the details of what they had on a control basis.”

So, the Prime Time undercover sting operation reveals very serious mis-selling and the experiences of the Financial Ombudsman also points to a very serious problem, but the regulator, who politely asks the financial institutions if they’re doing anything wrong, concludes that there’s no serious problem.

That’s the level of ‘regulation’ we can expect if O’Dea is appointed and, to be fair, it will be the same no matter who is appointed to the lucrative position.

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Financial Regulator