FMA appoints new chief economist

Newly created role to strengthen regulator's research, data and intelligence capabilities

FMA appoints new chief economist

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has appointed Stuart Johnson to the newly created role of chief economist.

In his role as chief economist, Johnson will lead a team of economists, research specialists, data analysts and consumer insight experts. This team will work to strengthen the FMA’s research, data and intelligence capabilities. He will join the FMA in early February and will be based in Wellington.

Johnson brings close to 20 years’ experience to the FMA, having worked as an economist and behavioural science expert across several financial services sectors, including banking, insurance and government regulation. He joins the regulator from London, where he has been head of behavioural economics, conduct risk and customer experience at major international banking and insurance firms since 2015, the FMA said.

“This is an exciting appointment for the FMA,” said chief executive Samantha Barrass. “In Stuart, we have attracted world-class talent, with international industry experience and credentials, to lead an important new function at the FMA. Stuart’s expertise in behavioural insights and an economist’s analytical mindset will help us to focus our regulatory lens on the right priorities and outcomes. This will make a significant difference to the way we best target our resources towards our goal, to ensure the finance sector is working well for all New Zealanders. I look forward to welcoming Stuart on board in the New Year.”

The FMA also announced that James Greig, director of supervision, has left the regulator. He joined in April 2016 as head of supervision before being promoted to the executive committee as director of supervision in January 2021. During his tenure, Greig led significant work across the FMA to introduce the new financial advice regime and help improve its operation in the supervisory space.

“I’d like to thank James for the strong leadership he has shown for the supervision and monitoring functions, as we have readied ourselves to take on significant new responsibilities for the new regimes for the conduct of banks and insurers,” Barrass said. “James has been a wonderful and enthusiastic colleague in driving change in the FMA, and for the industry. The FMA and our board wish James all the best for the future.”

Clare Bolingford, director of banking and insurance, will take charge of the supervision teams, with support from the broader executive committee, until the new FMA structure comes into effect in the coming months.

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