A competition specialist is to join the Solicitors Regulation Authority as its new executive director for strategy and innovation.
Aileen Armstrong will take up her post in mid-June after leaving Ofwat, where she has been an executive director since 2016.
She currently leads teams focused on company performance and price reviews, recently delivering the methodology for the next price review, having previously led finance and governance programme, which looked at company leadership and financial resilience.
Originally a civil servant, Ms Armstrong was head of competition, markets and regulation at HM Treasury before Ofwat, and also worked earlier in her career at both the Office of Fair Trading – where she led approval of the Institute of Professional Willwriters’ code of practice – and Competition Commission.
Both bodies are now both part of the Competition and Markets Authority, whose review of the legal market that has pushed much of the reform agenda in recent years.
Ms Armstrong will replace Tracy Vegro, who left last September after two and a half years to become chief executive of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
Meanwhile, the Legal Services Board is on the hunt for a new director of policy and regulation, with Chris Nichols leaving to become the first chief executive of the Enforcement Conduct Board (ECB), the new independent oversight body for bailiffs in England and Wales.
Mr Nichols, who will start his new role in March, has been with the Legal Services Board since 2015 and took up his present role in 2018. He previously held policy roles at the Bar Standards Board and Ministry of Justice.
Mr Nichols said that, with an increasing number of people grappling with problem debt, “the need to ensure that high standards are prevailing across the enforcement industry is more important than ever”.
The ECB has been created with agreement between the enforcement industry and leading debt advice charities, including Money Advice Trust, Christians Against Poverty and Step Change.
Funded initially by a voluntary industry levy, the government has committed to reviewing the need to provide the ECB’s oversight with full legal authority by 2024.