FCA’s head of digital assets leaves less than one year after joining

Quick Take

  • Binu Paul, the head of digital assets for the UK’s main financial regulator, has left less than one year after joining.
  • Paul took over the role from Victoria McLoughlin in October and previously worked as a fintech specialist lead at New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) head of digital assets Binu Paul has left the organization less than one year after joining. A spokesperson for the FCA confirmed the departure in an email to The Block.

Paul joined the UK financial regulator in October last year. He previously worked as a fintech specialist lead at New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority. He took over the head of digital assets role from Victoria McLoughlin who was covering it on an interim basis.

“We are very grateful for all the work Binu Paul has contributed to the payments and digital assets team,” said a spokesperson for the FCA.

McLoughlin has been appointed as the interim head of market interventions in the digital assets team, the spokesperson said. McLoughlin is an FCA veteran who joined the regulator in 2009 as an associate and has worked as a supervision manager overseeing virtual asset service providers (VASPs) and cryptoasset firms at the FCA.

Embracing Web3

Paul's departure comes as the UK aims to become “the world’s Web3 center.” The country has recently celebrated Andreessen Horowitz’s (A16z) decision to set up an international outpost in London. The renowned venture firm is a major player in the crypto industry and has boasted that the UK government “sees the promise of Web3.”

The UK government has also made headway with the regulation of digital assets and is expected to pass the Financial Services and Markets bill imminently, which includes provisions for crypto assets. The FCA is expected to play a significant role in the country’s governing of digital assets.

Currently the financial regulator maintains a register of cryptoasset firms. The process for registering is compliance with strict anti-money laundering laws. Some firms found the registration process to be cumbersome with many being held on a temporary register for months while the regulator dealt with hundreds of applications.

The regulator also runs programs to encourage innovation within its regulatory framework, including a sandbox program that enables companies to test innovative ideas with consumers and an innovation pathways service that helps companies understand the FCA’s regulatory regime.

Paul is currently working as a consultant and departed the FCA in June this year, according to LinkedIn. He confirmed his departure to the Block.

Update with comments from the FCA and a confirmation of his departure from Paul.

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