FRC loses head of stewardship ahead of government regulatory review

Claudia Chapman, who headed up the team overseeing the UK stewardship code, is set to depart the Financial Reporting Council later this year.

Claudia Chapman, head of stewardship at the UK’s financial reporting regulator, is set to leave her role, a few months ahead of the government’s planned review of the regulatory framework for stewardship.

Chapman has held the position at the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) for just over three years, having joined the regulator in 2015 as a policy adviser. She began her career at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, before moving to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants where she spent nine years, including as head of policy and campaigns.

While at the FRC, Chapman led the team responsible for setting and maintaining the revamped UK Stewardship Code, as well as spending a seven-month secondment with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), working in its ESG and asset management supervision divisions.

In a statement seen by Responsible Investor, Chapman said she was leaving at the start of August to take up a new role building and leading a stewardship team at an unnamed asset manager.

She added that her proudest achievement during her tenure at the FRC was undertaking a review of the UK’s stewardship code – “reinstating its position as world-leading” and “building a rigorous and fair assessment process” – as well as expanding the FRC’s stewardship team from just one member to nine.

“I am confident that I leave a strong team in an excellent position to take forward the review from the end of this year and evolve the code to continue to support investors to fulfil their duties to clients and sustainability outcomes,” she continued.

A spokesperson for the FRC confirmed Chapman’s departure but declined to comment further.

The regulator is openly recruiting for her replacement, with applications closing on 2 July. It has tended to recruit from outside the financial sector, with several senior figures within its corporate governance and stewardship team having a civil service or academic background.

David Styles, director of corporate governance and stewardship, spent close to 30 years at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills before moving to the FRC, while head of corporate governance Maureen Beresford was seconded from the same department before making a permanent move.

Meanwhile stewardship senior manager Andrea Tweedie, who took on Chapman’s role while she was on secondment, joined the FRC as a research assistant from the Queensland Brain Institute.

By contrast, Sacha Sadan left a stewardship role at LGIM when he became director of ESG at the FCA.

Chapman’s departure comes as the UK government is preparing to launch a review of the regulatory framework for stewardship, including the FRC Stewardship Code.

The government’s revised green finance strategy said it aims to launch a review in Q4 looking at a series of topics including non-equity stewardship, aligning expectations and the need for common definitions. Depending on the outcome of the review, and evidence it has solicited beforehand, the government hinted that “further action to ensure the effectiveness of the stewardship regulatory framework may be necessary”.