FCA Appoints Aidene Walsh as PSR Chair

Wednesday, 01/02/2023 | 12:07 GMT by Damian Chmiel
  • She served as an interim Chair and has been connected with the entity since 2020.
  • Walsh simultaneously joins the FCA Board.
Aidene Walsh

The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country's financial markets regulator, has confirmed the appointment of Aidene Walsh as the Chair of the PSR (Payment Systems Regulator). Welsh has served as the Interim Chair since April and was recently commissioned for a full three-year term.

According to the press release published on Wednesday, Walsh's appointment was made by the FCA Board, followed by the Treasury's approval.

Aidene Walsh Becomes PSR Chair and Joins FCA Board

Aidene Walsh FCA PSR

The PSR was established as an independent economic regulator in 2015 with its own statuary objectives and governance structure. Although it shares some operational services with the FCA, it is entirely independent in its decisions. However, under local laws, the Chair of the PSR is elected by the FCA.

Aidene Walsh became a member of the PSR Board in June 2020 and has served as the Interim Chair since April 2022. Currently, she holds the role of Executive Director with Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) and was previously a Chair of The Fairbanking Foundation.

The new Head of PSR's has over 26 years of banking experience, having held several leadership roles in domestic and international institutions in the banking sector during that time. She has worked at Citigroup and ABN Amro in European Transaction Banking, at RBS in Global Network Banking and at Lloyds in Merchant Acquiring and Commercial Cards Division.

"I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the PSR at such an important time for UK payments and the wider economy. The next couple of years will see delivery of vital developments in payments as well as new innovations," Walsh commented on the appointment.

As the new Head of the PSR, Walsh will join the FCA Board. It ensures that the two organizations work together and effectively develop the country's payment services system.

"The PSR will continue to work with payment operators and firms, consumer and business groups and other regulators to ensure that the UK's payment systems are fit for the future and that the wider ecosystem delivers competition and innovation. It will also ensure that choice and protection is front and centre when people and businesses make payments and take appropriate action where this is not the case," Walsh added.

Earlier this week, the FCA reported that Baroness Zahida Manzoor was reappointed to lead the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) as its Chair for a second term, which will run until August 2025.

Additionally, the UK government announced today that, in collaboration with the FCA, it wants to regulate the local cryptocurrency market for better consumer protection. As a first step, a public consultation has just been launched and will run until the end of April.

Watch the recent FMLS22 panel on the regulation roundup for 2023.

PSR Launched Review on Card Companies Fees

Last year, PSR launched a review on the rising card fees charged by two industry leaders, Visa and Mastercard, which account for 99% of all card payments in the UK.

Total debit card payments issued in the UK amounted to $861 billion. As the PSR notes, acquirer fees have increased significantly before Brexit and fivefold since the UK left the EU bloc.

"Cards are the most popular way for consumers to make a payment. To accept card payments, merchants must pay certain fees which can ultimately impact the cost we all pay for goods and services," Natalie Timan, the Head of Strategy at PSR, said.

As part of its review, PSR wanted to assess the reason behind such a significant increase in commissions and fees. The study sought to establish whether this was a sign of an improper market.

The British Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country's financial markets regulator, has confirmed the appointment of Aidene Walsh as the Chair of the PSR (Payment Systems Regulator). Welsh has served as the Interim Chair since April and was recently commissioned for a full three-year term.

According to the press release published on Wednesday, Walsh's appointment was made by the FCA Board, followed by the Treasury's approval.

Aidene Walsh Becomes PSR Chair and Joins FCA Board

Aidene Walsh FCA PSR

The PSR was established as an independent economic regulator in 2015 with its own statuary objectives and governance structure. Although it shares some operational services with the FCA, it is entirely independent in its decisions. However, under local laws, the Chair of the PSR is elected by the FCA.

Aidene Walsh became a member of the PSR Board in June 2020 and has served as the Interim Chair since April 2022. Currently, she holds the role of Executive Director with Banking Competition Remedies Ltd (BCR) and was previously a Chair of The Fairbanking Foundation.

The new Head of PSR's has over 26 years of banking experience, having held several leadership roles in domestic and international institutions in the banking sector during that time. She has worked at Citigroup and ABN Amro in European Transaction Banking, at RBS in Global Network Banking and at Lloyds in Merchant Acquiring and Commercial Cards Division.

"I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the PSR at such an important time for UK payments and the wider economy. The next couple of years will see delivery of vital developments in payments as well as new innovations," Walsh commented on the appointment.

As the new Head of the PSR, Walsh will join the FCA Board. It ensures that the two organizations work together and effectively develop the country's payment services system.

"The PSR will continue to work with payment operators and firms, consumer and business groups and other regulators to ensure that the UK's payment systems are fit for the future and that the wider ecosystem delivers competition and innovation. It will also ensure that choice and protection is front and centre when people and businesses make payments and take appropriate action where this is not the case," Walsh added.

Earlier this week, the FCA reported that Baroness Zahida Manzoor was reappointed to lead the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) as its Chair for a second term, which will run until August 2025.

Additionally, the UK government announced today that, in collaboration with the FCA, it wants to regulate the local cryptocurrency market for better consumer protection. As a first step, a public consultation has just been launched and will run until the end of April.

Watch the recent FMLS22 panel on the regulation roundup for 2023.

PSR Launched Review on Card Companies Fees

Last year, PSR launched a review on the rising card fees charged by two industry leaders, Visa and Mastercard, which account for 99% of all card payments in the UK.

Total debit card payments issued in the UK amounted to $861 billion. As the PSR notes, acquirer fees have increased significantly before Brexit and fivefold since the UK left the EU bloc.

"Cards are the most popular way for consumers to make a payment. To accept card payments, merchants must pay certain fees which can ultimately impact the cost we all pay for goods and services," Natalie Timan, the Head of Strategy at PSR, said.

As part of its review, PSR wanted to assess the reason behind such a significant increase in commissions and fees. The study sought to establish whether this was a sign of an improper market.

About the Author: Damian Chmiel
Damian Chmiel
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About the Author: Damian Chmiel
Damian's adventure with financial markets began at the Cracow University of Economics, where he obtained his MA in finance and accounting. Starting from the retail trader perspective, he collaborated with brokerage houses and financial portals in Poland as an independent editor and content manager. His adventure with Finance Magnates began in 2016, where he is working as a business intelligence analyst.
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