Andrew Bailey: The Bank of England’s new governor deemed a safe pair of hands

New Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey may not be a household name, but it is fair to say his name has certainly been in virtually every home in the country.

As chief cashier at the Bank in the noughties, it was his signature on every banknote, promising the value of the cash.

He was in that role when he earned his moniker as a safe pair of hands, as he played a key role in the state bailout of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank at the height of the financial crisis.

He is highly respected by the Bank, where he rose to the position of deputy governor for prudential regulation.

The Leicester-born grammar school boy impressed ministers so much that he was given the top job at the Financial Conduct Authority by then chancellor George Osborne in 2016.

He offered a carrot and stick approach to his time there – using it as an opportunity to help the financial sector better understand rules and regulations, but would crack down hard on those who continued to flout them.

In the last three years much of the FCA’s time has been spent on Brexit preparations, with complex negotiations over how traders and companies can continue to operate once the UK leaves the EU.

But in a sign of the FCA’s approach of at least appearing calm, few stumbling blocks arose.

When Mark Carney announced he would stand down as the Bank’s governor, Mr Bailey became the clear front-runner in 2018.

However, a series of scandals that showed a flat-footed FCA left Mr Bailey facing tough grillings from politicians and businesses.

The first saw the collapse of Neil Woodford’s fund, leading to questions over the FCA’s role in regulating funds that invest in high risk areas.

Another was the scandal at London and Capital Finance – leaving investors £237 million out of pocket and leading to protests outside the FCA’s offices and a candle-lit vigil for victims.

The fallout from RBS’s now-defunct Global Restructuring Group also hit the FCA after a report by the regulator was described as a whitewash by victims.

But Mr Bailey kept his cool, stayed the course, and Chancellor Sajid Javid will be hoping he has made the right pick for the biggest banking job in the land.