Nathanaël Benjamin: The modern gatekeeper

Speech by Mr Nathanaël Benjamin, Executive Director for Authorisations, Regulatory Technology, and International Supervision of the Bank of England, at TheCityUK, London, 23 November 2023.

Central bank speech  | 
11 December 2023

Good morning, everyone, and thank you to TheCityUK and EY for hosting us today. I want to begin by telling you that I am particularly pleased to be giving this speech. As this is my last public speech as the Executive Director of Authorisations, Regulatory Technology, and International Supervision, I'm delighted to finish my tenure in that role by speaking to some of the work that I have been most proud of over the past few years. So, I'm going to cover how we have adapted to the tumult of recent years from an authorisation's perspective. In that spirit I will touch on several areas relevant to that. These include our new secondary growth and competitiveness objective, our operational performance, and the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR). I will also take this opportunity to set out our mindset for the future in a post-Brexit landscape.

The Prudential Regulation Authority's (PRA) Authorisations function is really a gateway into the PRA – one through which all firms pass, ranging from your local credit union to the largest banks and insurers:

  • We are there at the outset when a new business is looking to take flight,
  • We are there as firms evolve their strategy by adding new activities,
  • We are there when a new executive team takes over,
  • We are there when a merger or acquisition takes place,
  • - and we are also there if a firm's journey ends, to support an orderly exit from the market, and to cancel their permissions.

And that means we're busy! We deal with over 1,800 authorisation requests annually across multiple types of regulatory transactions. Some firms might be interacting with us only occasionally, while for others it will be several times a year. But whatever the reason, we know that these applications are critical for firms' ability to operate and pursue their strategies effectively.