Almost one in 10 applications for senior jobs in the financial sector has been withdrawn since the Financial Services Authority (FSA) started to vet senior staff last October.
Since the measures were introduced 15 of the 174 executives who applied for top jobs, including chairman or chief executive – which are deemed to be “significant influence functions” – have pulled out before any formal decision was made.
Of these, 12 dropped their applications after initial interviews during which they were questioned by the FSA about whether they had the “necessary skills, experience and integrity” for the job.
Jonathan Davies, financial services partner at law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, told The Times: “There is a concern about how much arm-twisting the FSA is entering into.”
He said that companies are unlikely to challenge FSA decisions because appeals and their results are public and if an appeal was unsuccessful the FSA could make a public statement identifying the applicant and the firm involved.
The FSA said: “In a number of cases, applications for senior roles have been withdrawn following interviews that raised questions concerning the candidate’s competence.”