Hong Kong Regulator Ashley Alder to Head UK Financial Supervisor

He leaves a legacy of mixed crypto regulations in Hong Kong that saw crypto exchange FTX depart the city and retail investors largely excluded.

AccessTimeIconJul 8, 2022 at 7:44 a.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 5:40 p.m. UTC

Ashley Alder, the CEO of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), has been appointed to head the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is expected to start in January 2023.

  • Alder, a former lawyer, has been the head of the SFC since October 2011, overseeing the introduction of the territory’s digital assets rules.
  • He will become chair of the FCA, working with CEO Nikhil Rathi. The FCA became the U.K.'s authority for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism in 2020, bringing crypto companies within its remit.
  • While Hong Kong was considered one of the world’s freest economies for traditional finance, the same can’t be said for crypto.
  • Industry stakeholders that have previously spoken to CoinDesk are wary about the city’s long-term potential because of China’s growing influence.
  • In addition, strict licensing rules for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASP) in Hong Kong would exclude all retail investors from the asset class.
  • Crypto executives in the industry have complained about these rules, and the difficulty in working with the SFC and Hong Kong’s other financial regulators on digital assets.
  • Last summer exchange FTX moved its headquarters out of Hong Kong, citing unfavorable regulations and COVID-19 quarantine requirements.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about