HSBC poaches ex-FCA comms boss Tom Willetts for private banking role
Former Financial Conduct Authority communications director Tom Willetts is joining HSBC as global head of communications for private banking and wealth, according to two sources familiar with the move.
Financial News first revealed Willetts’ exit from the regulator in July, one of a string of high-profile departures to have hit the markets watchdog as it introduced a new pay and perks model for staff.
Willetts has now agreed to join the banking giant to run its global communications efforts in the private banking and wealth space, a growth area for many investment banks looking to tap new revenue streams from affluent clients.
An HSBC spokesperson said: “We can confirm Tom Willetts has joined HSBC as global head of communications, global private banking and wealth.”
The hire marks the latest transfer from a senior regulator into the private sector after they leave the watchdog.
Since its creation in 2013, top FCA staff have sought lucrative roles at regulated firms on their exits.
Former chief executive Hector Sants became Barclays’ head of compliance, and his successor Martin Wheatley became an adviser to Hong Kong hedge fund Oasis Management.
Two others that have filled their shoes on an interim basis since, Chris Woolard and Tracey McDermott, now work for EY and Standard Chartered respectively.
Willetts was previously global head of media relations at insurance giant Prudential, a director at PR agency FTI Consulting, a producer for the BBC and a communications officer at HM Revenue and Customs.
“He had a lot of interest given he’s worked for agencies and in-house, worked in Westminster, has international experience and was a hack,” one source with knowledge of Willett’s move to HSBC said.
The FCA was contacted for comment.
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