FMA announces new CEO

FMA announces new CEO | Insurance Business New Zealand

FMA announces new CEO

The FMA has announced the appointment of experienced international regulator Samantha Barrass as its new Chief Executive.

Barrass has worked in various regulatory roles across the UK and Europe, and was the CEO of the financial regulator in Gibraltar between 2014 and 2019. She also worked at the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) in the UK for nine years.

FMA chair Mark Todd said that Barrass would being “deep international regulatory experience and leadership skills to the role.”

“Ms Barrass has had a very successful career to date, operating in a number of complex and challenging environments,” Todd said.

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“Her knowledge and experience of the insurance and banking industries will be particularly relevant for the increased role the FMA is to play in those areas.”

Barrass graduated in economics from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, and completed her postgraduate study at Victoria University of Wellington. She then started her career as an economist with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, before moving to the UK to pursue her MSC at the London School of Economics.

“We are delighted to have secured Ms Barrass for this role,” Todd said. “She is a proven leader and has impressive, directly relevant, regulatory experience in the UK and Europe.”

“She successfully led the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission through a period of evolution and expansion. Her experience as a consensus-building leader will stand the FMA in good stead as it continues its current activities and readies itself for a wider mandate in regulating banks and insurers, as well as climate change reporting.

“On a personal note, it’s also great to see a New Zealand citizen returning home to take on this important role.”

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Commenting on her appointment, Barrass said: “The FMA is at an important juncture in its journey to support and enhance the economy and financial health of Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the great work done by Rob Everett and the team. I’m very excited to be returning home to lead the FMA in this next phase and working with all to safeguard and foster a financial sector that everyone has a stake in.”

Barrass will start the role in January 2022, subject to COVID-19 practicalities. Outgoing CEO Rob Everett will step down in October, and General Counsel Liam Mason will be Acting Chief Executive in the months prior to Barrass’s arrival.