In a press release on 18th October, The FCA announced the impending resignation of Mark Steward, the executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight. According to the release, Mark will step down next year after working with FCA for seven years.
Mark Steward to Step Down Next Year
The press release said:
“Mark Steward has announced he will be stepping down as the FCA’s executive director of Enforcement and Market Oversight after seven years with the regulator.”
Mark Steward has worked with the FCA for seven years, starting in 2015, and has helped deal with high-profile and complex enforcement cases. He played a massive role in developing the FCA’s data-led approach to overseeing the markets. He also won many instances connected to top institutions and individuals.
When announcing his impending resignation, the watchdog executive noted how privileged he felt having served at the FCA. He also highlighted that he is leaving a solid team focused on the future.
When speaking about Mark Steward, FCA’s Chief Executive, Nikhil Rathi noted:
“Mark has brought his formidable experience as a regulator and litigator to the FCA, delivering significant enforcement cases across a broad spectrum and the FCA’s data-led approach to market oversight.”
According to Rathi, Mark helped ensure fairness and clean the markets to help the economy thrive. He also was always ready to take on massive challenges in cases and deliver real impact in financial markets.
Mark Steward’s Influence on the Crypto Landscape
Having served in the FCA, Mark Steward was vocal about crypto assets. In fact, during his speech in March 2021, Mark Steward said:
“While we do not regulate or supervise the cryptocurrency business, these firms are required to be registered with the FCA, and they are required to comply with the money laundering regulations.”
Mark Steward’s statement triggered lots of actions by the FCA which led to registration, deregistration and even the banning many crypto firms. For instance, when Mark talked about crypto firm registration, the FCA provided crypto investors with a list of unregistered crypto networks to avoid. Later, in May this year, the FCA began scrutiny against 50 unlisted crypto firms.
Merely a few weeks ago, in Mid September, the FCA listed FTX, one of the largest crypto exchanges, as an unauthorized firm. Last year, FCA banned crypto exchange Binance and some of its services entirely in the UK. Being part of the decision-making process, Mark Steward was primarily involved in the deregistration of FTX and Binance.
During Mark’s time with the watchdog, FCA has been accused of constantly delaying the registration of crypto firms. The watchdog responded a few weeks ago by mentioning that the period taken in registration depends on the information given to the FCA.
After passing the law on crypto network registration, the FCA allowed firms to receive temporary registration before completing the procedure. However, starting this month, the FCA stopped any temporary registration. Any crypto company must be registered and licensed to operate in the UK.
FCA Planning to Replace Mark
Aside from registration, FCA has also banned many crypto ads in the country. It’s true that Mark vastly impacted the crypto landscape mostly negatively when serving under the FCA. The FCA release mentioned that plans are already underway to scour for Mark’s successor.