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Financial services chief to head BSB

Neale: Former senior civil servant

The chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme is to take over as director-general of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) next February.

Mark Neale, who will replace Dr Vanessa Davies following her retirement, has been head of the scheme for nine years, before which he was a senior civil servant at the Home Office and then the Treasury.

Mr Neale was responsible for counter-terrorism, organised crime and international work as a director-general at the Home Office between 2002 and 2005.

He moved to the Treasury where he was managing director for budget, tax and welfare between 2005 and 2010.

Baroness Blackstone, chair of the BSB, said Dr Davies had “transformed” the regulator during her nine years as director-general.

The BSB has also appointed Velia Soames, head of professional conduct at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, to the new role of independent reviewer.

Ms Soames was a City solicitor before working as a legal adviser at the Pensions Ombudsman and then moving into professional standards, becoming director of professional standards and conduct at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

She will review individual decisions taken by the regulator and “provide periodic audits of cases to give assurance that the BSB’s regulatory decision-making is operating fairly and effectively”.

Alongside this, the BSB’s new Independent Decision-Making Body (IDB) will start operating this month, replacing the professional conduct committee. It was meant to have begun working in June.

It consists of a pool of 17 barristers, including five QCs, and 23 lay members who will be formed into lay-majority panels to take decisions on individual disciplinary and authorisation cases.

All members are paid £308 per day or £154 per half day.

BSB board member Aidan Christie QC, who was chair of the professional conduct committee, is chair of the IDB. He is a commercial lawyer at 4 Pump Court.

The vice-chair is Iain Christie of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square. A full-time mediator, he was previously a Foreign Office lawyer and is also a professional actor.

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