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Stephanie Cohen named as Financial Conduct Authority’s new COO

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made a number of senior appointments, including naming a new chief operating officer.

It follows the regulator’s restructure that was announced in December where Sheldon Mills was appointed the new executive director, Consumers and Competition, and Siobhán Sheridan as chief people officer. 

Stephanie Cohen will be the FCA’s COO, responsible for its operations and business performance, systems and infrastructure, and finances.

She will lead operational changes to make the FCA more efficient, dynamic, and technologically driven.

Cohen brings more than two decades of experience in large financial services firms, including 14 years at BlackRock where she was the global COO for the active equity businesses and the Alpha Strategies division, comprising Active Equities and Fixed Income. 

Jessica Rusu will join the FCA as its first chief data, information and intelligence officer, tasked with evolving the organisations relationship with big tech companies, fintechs and the wider data science community and championing the FCA’s global Innovate agenda. 

Before taking up her current role as chief data officer at Chetwood Financial, a digital challenger bank, Rusu was senior director of Finance & Analytics at eBay in Europe where she built its advanced analytics and customer insight function.  She has also worked in credit analytics at Ford Motor Company and in stress testing at GE Capital.

Sarah Pritchard will be responsible for the delivery of the FCA’s statutory market integrity objective in the combined Supervision, Policy and Competition division, as executive director, Markets.

She joins from the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC), where she is director. Before joining the NECC, her career involved stints in a range of government departments in legal and operational roles and in risk and compliance at HSBC. She trained as a commercial litigator with Decherts LLP.

Emily Shepperd will take up the newly created role of executive director, Authorisations. She will oversee authorisations, which is the gateway for firms and individuals applying to undertake regulated financial services activity.

The final appointment is Clare Cole, who is promoted to the role of director of Market Oversight. She will lead the FCA’s response to Lord Hill’s forthcoming Listings Review while being responsible for the team overseeing the conduct of participants in the primary and secondary markets through the listing, prospectus and market abuse regimes.

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the FCA, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Stephanie, Jessica, Sarah and Emily into the FCA to be part of our executive leadership team. They bring with them a deep understanding of the consumers we seek to protect, the markets we oversee, and all have track records for operational excellence. As we continue transforming the FCA - building a data-led regulator - their global experience and leadership, drawn from a variety of backgrounds, will be vital in ensuring we can act more quickly to reduce harm to consumers and ensure market integrity. 

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