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Financial services regulator opens digital delivery centre in Leeds

The Financial Conduct Authority is increasing the number of tech experts in its workforce through a new digital delivery centre in Leeds

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is recruiting more than 100 people to work at a new digital delivery centre in Leeds, as it expands its presence across the UK.

Data services expert and former IBM employee Phil Nixon will head up the Leeds centre, which will work alongside other FCA teams.

The FCA also plans to double the number of staff in its Edinburgh office to around 200 and increase recruitment in data and technology. 

“As a national regulator, it is vital we have a truly national footprint. That means having colleagues in all parts of the UK,” said FCA CEO Nikhil Rathi.

“I’m delighted that we’re moving a step closer to opening our new Leeds office, in a city with a growing reputation as a digital and tech hub.”

James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said it looked forward to welcoming the FCA to the city, which “has financial, digital and tech sectors that are strong and resilient” and “a population that is innovative, diverse and brimming with talent”.

The increasing importance of data to monitor a rapidly expanding finance sector is driving a major expansion of tech teams at the FCA.

In June, the FCA said, as part of a “heavy” investment in data, it would hire people with expertise in artificial intelligence, analytics and data science, as well as cloud engineering and digital technology.

At the time, Jessica Rusu, chief data, information and intelligence officer at the FCA, said better use of data would allow it to be more proactive and find and stop harm faster. “We are continuing to improve our data, technology and capabilities to act decisively in consumers’ interests, while making it easier for firms to report to us,” she added.

About 100,000 websites are scanned by the FCA every day to identify possible scams. Between May 2021 and April 2022, the FCA added 1,966 possible scams to its consumer warning list – about one-third more than for the same period the previous year. 

The regulator also uses advanced analytics and new sources of data to identify inappropriate financial adverts. In the same period, 564 adverts were withdrawn or amended after being flagged by the FCA – double the number during the previous 12 months.

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