18 January 2023

FMA appoints Stuart Johnson to new Chief Economist role

Media Release
MR No. 2023 – 2

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) - Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko has appointed Stuart Johnson to the newly created role of Chief Economist. 

Mr Johnson brings nearly 20 years’ experience to the FMA, as an economist and behavioural science expert within the financial services industry spanning banking, insurance and government regulation. He joins the FMA from London, UK, where he has been Head of Behavioural Economics, Conduct Risk and Customer Experience, at major international banking and insurance firms since 2015. He has as an MSc from London School of Economics. 

In his role as FMA’s Chief Economist, Mr Johnson will lead a team of economists, research specialists, data analysts and consumer insight experts, to take forward the FMA’s strategy to become significantly more research-driven, data and intelligence-led. 

Samantha Barrass, FMA Chief Executive, said: “This is an exciting appointment for the FMA. In Stuart, we have attracted world class talent, with international industry experience and credentials, to lead an important new function at the FMA. Stuart’s expertise in behavioural insights and an economist’s analytical mindset will help us to focus our regulatory lens on the right priorities and outcomes. This will make a significant difference to the way we best target our resources towards our goal, to ensure the finance sector is working well for all New Zealanders. I look forward to welcoming Stuart on board in the New Year.” 

Mr Johnson will be joining the FMA in early February 2023, and will be based in Wellington.  

At the end of Last year, the FMA completed a successful consultation on its new organisation structure. The functional teams and senior roles that will be reporting into the enterprise leadership team, announced in mid-September have now been confirmed. Senior roles have been advertised and these will accelerate the delivery of FMA’s strategy as an outcomes-focused regulator based on deeper engagement with the industry. The FMA will provide more information on the new structure when it comes into effect in early 2023.  

The FMA also confirmed today that James Greig, Director Supervision, has left the FMA to take a break over this summer before exploring future opportunities in the year ahead.  

Mr Greig joined in April 2016 as Head of Supervision before being promoted to ExCo as Director of Supervision in January 2021. During his time at the FMA, James made a highly valued contribution, including leading significant work across the FMA to introduce the new Financial Advice regime and notably improving the way we operate in the supervisory space. 

James was also instrumental in partnering with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) to lead and deliver the conduct and culture reviews of banks in 2018 and life insurers in 2019. James had significant involvement in the AML/CFT supervision regime, including his leadership of the FMA’s contribution to the mutual evaluation by FATF from 2019 – 2021. 

Ms Barrass acknowledged Mr Greig’s contribution: “I’d like to thank James for the strong leadership he has shown for the supervision and monitoring functions, as we have readied ourselves to take on significant new responsibilities for the new regimes for the conduct of banks and insurers. James has been a wonderful and enthusiastic colleague in driving change in the FMA, and for the industry. The FMA and our Board wish James all the best for the future.” 

Clare Bolingford, Director of Banking and Insurance, has taken on responsibility for the supervision teams, with support from the broader Executive Committee, until the new FMA structure comes into effect in early 2023. 



Media contacts: 

Andrew Park 
FMA Media Relations Manager 
[email protected]
021 220 6770 

Campbell Gibson 
FMA Senior Adviser, Media Relations 
[email protected]
021 945 323