New members appointed to the Financial Services Consumer Panel

30 January 2015

On 1 February, Mark Chidley and Kitty Ussher will begin their three-year terms as new members of the independent Financial Services Consumer Panel.

Mark Chidley is a solicitor specialising in banking and finance law, who has worked with Royal Bank of Scotland and law firm DLA Piper. His main focus on the Panel will be on issues facing SMEs as consumers of financial services, having worked since 2009 to improve access to finance for smaller business in the North East of England.

Kitty Ussher is a former Member of Parliament and Government Minister, having served as Economic Secretary to the Treasury in 2007-2008. She is currently the Managing Director of the research consultancy Tooley Street Research, as well as Chief Economic Adviser to consultancy Portland.

The new members have been appointed following the departures of Debbie Harrison and Fiona Fry

Sue Lewis, Consumer Panel Chair, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Mark and Kitty to the Panel. They both bring valuable experience and knowledge of the different ways in which financial services policy can have an impact on consumers, and I look forward to working with them. I am also grateful to Debbie Harrison and Fiona Fry for their contribution to the Panel’s work over the past years. We wish them all the best for the future."

Notes to editors.

  1. Mark Chidley is a solicitor specialising in the law of banking and finance. After training with Slaughter and May in London he moved to Leeds and spent many years as a partner with the law firm which is now Addleshaw Goddard, becoming both a member of its board and head of its national banking and financial services practice. From 2002 to 2005 he was the Director of Group Legal Services with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group in Edinburgh, where he was responsible for a large team of in-house lawyers dealing with RBS's business as usual banking activities globally. Since 2005 he has been a partner (and latterly a consultant) with DLA Piper. Mark has a deep understanding of corporate and retail banking and a particular interest in access to finance in the SME sector. Since 2009 he has been a non-executive director of North East Access to Finance Limited, a company closely involved in access to finance issues for small and medium-sized businesses in the north east of England. Given his legal, banking and access to finance experience, Mark aims to contribute in particular to the issues facing SMEs as consumers of financial services products.
  2. Kitty Ussher is an economist and former Treasury minister, with twenty years of public policy experience gained from inside and outside government. She is currently Managing Director of the research consultancy Tooley Street Research as well as Chief Economic Adviser to Portland, and a member of the CityUK's Independent Economists' Panel. From 2005 until 2010, she was the Labour MP for Burnley and served variously as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (2008-2009) and Economic Secretary to the Treasury (2007-2008). Previously, she also held positions as Parliamentary Private Secretary and special advisor at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and as a member of the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee. She was a local government councillor in Lambeth between 1998 and 2002. She also researched and written extensively for London-based think tanks including Demos, the Centre for London, the Centre for European Reform and the Smith Institute. In her early career she worked as a macroeconomic forecaster at the Economist Intelligence Unit. She holds an MSc in economics from Birkbeck College London and an undergraduate degree in Politics and Economics (PPE) from Balliol College, Oxford.
  3. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services Act 2012. It was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FCA on the interests and concerns of consumers.
  4. The Panel’s membership is drawn from a broad range of backgrounds with expertise including market research, law, financial services industry, financial inclusion, European Regulation, financial regulation, consumer advice, campaigning, communications, compliance and later-life issues.
  5. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FCA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FCA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available on its website or via its LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.