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Press releases 2002 -

New branch directors to strengthen OFT's consumer protection operation

PN 45/02    24 July 2002

Two new branch directors have been appointed to strengthen OFT's consumer protection operation.

Christine Wade, currently Head of Essex Trading Standards, becomes the new branch director of co-regulation and co-ordination, and Ray Hall, at present Deputy Director of OFT's consumer credit team, takes over as director of consumer credit and estate agency.

Christine Wade will lead the development, promotion and implementation of OFT policy on self-regulation and in particular OFT's new regime to support trade associations' codes of practice. She will also play a key role in coordinating OFT's enforcement with others, especially local authority trading standards departments, and in policy on the OFT’s new responsibilities under the Enterprise Bill, which will extend the Stop Now powers across all UK consumer protection regulation.

After graduating from Surrey University, Christine began work as a trainee trading standards officer (TSO) with Surrey County Council. She then worked in several other trading standards posts before becoming Deputy County TSO in Essex. With local government reorganisation she was made Head of Trading Standards. She was also Chair of the Society of Chief TSOs in 2000/01. She was awarded the MBE for her services to trading standards in Essex in the last New Year's Honours.

Ray Hall will be primarily involved in credit market regulation. He will be responsible for credit policy, including guidance on fitness to hold a credit licence. He will direct work on OFT's credit licensing operation and the Estate Agents Act. He will be responsible for OFT's work on Stop Now in relation to credit, input into the Treasury's initiative on mortgage regulation and DTI’s review of the Consumer Credit Act.

After working as a teacher for several years, Ray joined the OFT in 1979. His career at the Office has covered work under the Financial Services Act, merger control, Competition Act investigations, head of personnel and, most recently, acting as Deputy Director for consumer credit work.

These two posts have developed following a reorganisation of the OFT's consumer regulation enforcement activities and the move by Ray Watson, former Director of Consumer Credit and Regulation, to the Office of the Rail Regulator.

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