What we know about the new FMA CEO

The Financial Markets Authority says it is happy with the process used to employ its new chief executive after reports of a past employment dispute, a claim of libel and a conflict of interest made against her.

Monday, September 20th 2021, 6:00AM

by Matthew Martin

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) announced it had found a replacement for outgoing chief executive Rob Everett who will leave at the end of October.

His replacement, Samantha Barrass will join the regulator in January.

According to a report published by GBC News in Gibraltar, Barrass reached a confidential out-of-court financial settlement and withdrew her claim against the Government, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) and the Minister for Financial Services at the Employment Tribunal in June 2020.

Barrass was replaced as chief executive at the GFSC in October 2019, almost a year before her contract was due to end.

According to GBC News, the proceedings were dismissed following the withdrawal of the claim, with each party bearing their own costs.

in 2016, Barrass, along with former GFSC legal director Peter Taylor and the GFSC itself, also faced a libel lawsuit made by a local lawyer Nick Cruz following media statements made by the GFSC after the collapse of Enterprise Insurance, the firm where Cruz was a non-executive chairman.

Cruz withdrew his lawsuit in July this year after agreeing to accept £90,000 for his legal costs from the GFSC.

"Ms Barrass caused some controversy during her five years as the Commission’s CEO when she accepted a non-executive role on the board of PwC's UK Public Interest Body," the GBC News report stated.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Barrass left her board position at PWC UK in December 2019 after 18 months in the role.

In a statement from the FMA, it says its board was aware of those matters from the outset "...as the result of its due diligence and is completely confident that these matters raise no issues of concern".

"The employment case is subject to the usual confidentiality requirements, was settled over a year ago and was considered of no relevance," the statement reads.

The PwC appointment was supported and approved by the chair and board of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and was subject to standard conflict management policies, the FMA says.

"The FMA board carefully considered the context of the defamation case and regarded it as an occupational risk associated with a high profile regulatory role of this type.

"It’s clear from the broad range of due diligence discussions that Ms Barrass’s time at the GFSC was very highly regarded by the GFSC and elsewhere, Ms Barrass was seen as an empathetic leader, who builds strong, inclusive cultures.”

The FMA used executive search firm, Hobson Leavy, to conduct a national and international search for a new chief executive with initial longlist interviews conducted by Hobson Leavy.

A committee of three board members, including chairman Mark Todd, interviewed shortlisted candidates with a subsequent interview conducted by the full board.

Tags: FMA recruitment Samantha Barrass

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