New Zealand FMA Announces Samantha Barrass as CEO

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has appointed Samantha Barrass as its new Chief Executive Officer for bringing deep international regulatory experience and leadership skills to the role while maintaining a strong New Zealand connection.

Mark Todd, FMA Chair, commented: “Ms. Barrass has had a very successful career to date, operating in a number of complex and challenging environments. Her knowledge and experience of the insurance and banking industries will be particularly relevant for the increased role the FMA is to play in those areas.”

The industry veteran has worked in a range of regulatory and executive roles in the UK and Europe: between 2014 and 2019, Ms. Barrass was the Chief Executive Officer of the financial regulator in Gibraltar. The role encompassed conduct and prudential regulatory oversight.

Earlier in her career, she worked for nine years in a number of roles at the Financial Services Authority in the UK (now the Financial Conduct Authority).

Samantha Barrass led the establishment of the UK’s Business Banking Resolution Service, an innovative service designed to resolve disputes between banks and their business customers. Ms. Barrass began her career as an economist at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“We are delighted to have secured Ms. Barrass for this role. She is a proven leader and has impressive, directly relevant, regulatory experience in the UK and Europe. She successfully led the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission through a period of evolution and expansion”, FMA Chair Todd continued.

“Her experience as a consensus-building leader will stand the FMA in good stead as it continues its current activities and readies itself for a wider mandate in regulating banks and insurers, as well as climate change reporting. On a personal note, it’s also great to see a New Zealand citizen returning home to take on this important role.”

Samantha Barrass, incoming CEO at New Zealand’s FMA, said: “The FMA is at an important juncture in its journey to support and enhance the economy and financial health of Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to build on the great work done by Rob Everett and the team. I’m very excited to be returning home to lead the FMA in this next phase and working with all to safeguard and foster a financial sector that everyone has a stake in.”

She will take up her new role in January 2022, subject to COVID-19 practicalities. The FMA’s current Chief Executive, Rob Everett, leaves at the end of October. FMA General Counsel Liam Mason will be Acting Chief Executive during the months prior to Ms. Barrass’ arrival.