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Former NatWest legal head Christopher FitzGerald is set to take the helm at the Financial Services Authority (FSA)’s regulatory panel in August. The former Slaughter and May partner’s five-year stint at NatWest came to an end last year when he quit after the top legal job went to his Royal Bank of Scotland general counsel Miller MacLean following the banks’ merger.FitzGerald will chair the regulatory decisions committee (RDC), a quasi-independent regulatory panel responsible for reviewing cases in which the FSA deems a company unfit for authorisation, which all financial services companies need to trade.An FSA spokesman said the RDC has been widened to include authorisation and suspension of permission to carry out financial services work.Initially it was envisaged that the committee’s work would be limited to enforcement. He said that the committee was introduced as a “check and balance” to prevent FSA staff, who “might get a little carried away with their cases”.FSA deputy chairman Stewart Boyd said: “We are setting up the committee to ensure that FSA decisions, which go to the heart of regulated firms’ and individuals’ ability to engage in regulated activities, are taken by a body independent of FSA staff.” FitzGerald has been appointed to the role for a three-year term by the FSA board and was nominated by non-executive deputy chairman Stewart Boyd QC, practitioner panel chairman David Challen and financial services consumer panel chairman Colin Brown after he responded to an advertisement last year. The FSA is recruiting up to 40 committee members for when the Financial Services Act comes into force in October.

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