Samantha Barrass, a kiwi economist with international experience as a regulator has been named as the FMA’s new Chief Executive, having served at the forefront of radical changes made to the regulation and ownership of law firms in the UK.
Ms Barrass replaces Rob Everett as Chief Executive of the FMA, taking over in January next year.
Liam Mason, the FMA’s general counsel is the acting chief executive in the interim period until the new CE takes over.
Barrass has qualifiecations in economics and business from both Canterbury University and Victoria University and joined the the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as an economist in 1988. In 1993 she moved to London to attend the London School of Economics where she was awarded an MSc in Economics.
In 1995 she joined the Financial Services Authority in London (now the Financial Conduct Authority) which was responsible for the prudential and conduct of business regulation of the UK financial markets. She served successively as an Economist, a Supervisor in the Markets and Exchanges Division and a Manager in Conduct of Business Regulation.
Between 2005 and 2009, Samantha was a Director at the London Investment Banking Association where
she worked on behalf of investment banks to develop and implement strategic advocacy programmes with
the UK, EU and other national governments and national and international regulatory bodies.
In 2009 Samantha took her regulatory knowledge and skills from the financial to the legal sector when she
was appointed as an Executive Director at the Solicitors Regulation Authority with responsibility for leading
the SRA’s work to transform the regulation of solicitors. This was the most significant element of the
transformation of the legal services market in England and Wales enabled by the UK Legal Services Act
New Law Firm Regulatory Regime
It included implementing a new regulatory regime allowing for non-lawyer investment into, and ownership and control of law firms.
In 2014 she returned to financial services when she was appointed Chief Executive of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Samantha led the prudential and conduct regulation of a complex financial services sector that primarily exports financial services and which represents around 25% of Gibraltar’s economy.
This period was characterised by the significant global and EU regulatory reform in the wake of the 2007/08 financial crisis. Between 2014 and 2019 the GFSC secured the confidence of governments and regulators in key export markets that Gibraltar was implementing these reforms in substance as well as form.