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Senior complaints and regulatory expert, Antony Townsend, appointed to lead BBRS SME Liaison Panel

2 March 2021

A former Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner, responsible for resolving complaints from organisations and individuals with complaints against financial services regulators, is to head up the Business Banking Resolution Service’s new SME Liaison Panel.

Antony Townsend, whose previous roles have involved extensive handling of complaints from SMEs in difficult circumstances, starts work this month. He also has leadership experience in finance, healthcare and professional services regulation.

He will play a key role in building trust, gathering intelligence and providing an independent voice for the small business community regarding the operation and development of the BBRS, which went live in February 2021 to resolve outstanding historical and contemporary complaints from larger SMEs about their banks.

Mr Townsend was the independent Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner from 2014 to 2020. During his career, he has fulfilled a series of substantial regulatory roles including: Chair of the UK and Ireland Regulatory Board of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (2013-2020) and Chair of the Regulation Board of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (2013-2019).

He currently fulfils a range of independent investigative and regulatory roles in public life, including: Board Member and Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Professional Standard Authority for Health and Social Care (2015-), Chair designate of the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator (2021-) and Independent Review Panel chair, NHS England (2020-).

Mr Townsend was appointed after a competitive recruitment, interview and selection process. He takes up his role straight away.

Commenting on the appointment, BBRS Chair, Lewis Shand Smith, said:

“I have got no doubt that, in Antony Townsend, we have a fearless, independent and highly experienced champion, who will provide input with real impact into how the BBRS operates. He will play a key role in harnessing the experience and ideas of small business across the country, to ensure that we build an effective service that responds to changes in the market and which earns the trust of SMEs. It is a pleasure for me to welcome him on board, and to begin work right away.”

Antony Townsend, incoming Chair of the BBRS’ SME Liaison Panel said:

“As Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner, and in my roles regulating professional groups, I have dealt with complaints from people struggling to run small businesses in difficult circumstances. For owners of SMEs, problems with their businesses are inseparable from their personal lives, and if they cannot resolve their complaints against large organisations promptly and fairly, they experience misery.

“The BBRS offers the prospect of swifter and fairer resolution of complaints against banks, not only to deal with historic wrongs but also to ensure that new complaints are dealt with effectively – particularly in the current period of acute economic pressures. The SME Liaison Panel has the potential to make an important contribution to the success of the BBRS. Its key roles will be to gather intelligence, to build trust, to give voice to SMEs, to warn and to speak truth, and to make a contribution to the continuous improvement of the organisation.

“My first step will be to recruit a diverse range of panel members who can provide reflections on the variety and complexity of small business experiences of banking across the country.”

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

Antony Townsend

During his career, Anthony has fulfilled a series of substantial regulatory roles including:

  • Chair of the UK and Ireland Regulatory Board of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (2013-2020)
  • Chair of the Regulation Board of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (2013-2019).
  • Chief Executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (2006-2014)
  • Chief Executive of the General Dental Council (2001-2006)
  • Director of Education and Standards at the General Medical Council (1990-2001)

He currently fulfils a range of independent investigative and regulatory roles in public life, including:

  • Board Member and Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Professional Standard Authority for Health and Social Care (2015-)
  • Chair designate of the Determinations Panel of the Pensions Regulator (2021-)
  • Independent Review Panel chair, NHS England (2020-)
  • Independent Investigator, House of Commons (2020-)
  • Chair of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (2020-)

Media contacts

Portland PR

Press Office: +44 207 554 1776 | BBRS@portland-communications.com

About the BBRS

The BBRS is a dispute resolution service set up to resolve disputes between eligible small and medium sized businesses and participating banks. The BBRS has been established in accordance with a voluntary commitment in response to the Simon Walker Review on the small business complaints landscape.

An Implementation Steering Group was established in January 2019, and it drove and oversaw the development of the service in line with the banking and finance industry’s commitment and agreed terms of reference. The seven participating banks are: Barclays, Danske Bank, HSBC UK, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest Group, Santander UK, and Virgin Money. Alongside the participating banks, the Implementation Steering Group comprised many representative groups acting on behalf of small and medium sized businesses.

For more information visit the BBRS website https://thebbrs.org/.