The new payment system operator appoints Paul Horlock as its first chief executive

Paul Horlock has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the UK’s new payment system operator, which has been established to develop the capability and capacity of the UK’s retail payment systems, which between them process over £6.4 trillion pounds of payments every year.

Paul, who has worked in the banking sector for over 15 years, will take up the position on 1 October 2017.

Creation of the new payment system operator involves the consolidation of Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS), which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC).  As a single entity, the new payment system operator will build on the achievements and successes of the existing payment schemes and progress their well-defined strategies for the benefit of the UK economy.  In addition, taking an over-arching view of the retail payments sector will enable the new payment system operator to deliver greater efficiency, more innovation and fair and equal access to payments and the infrastructure that facilitates them.

Paul Horlock, the new Chief Executive of the new payment system operator, said: “I am thrilled to be asked to take up the role of CEO for the new payments system operator. Taking up the role of Chief Executive of a company that is a vital part of this country’s financial infrastructure is a huge privilege and I look forward to helping to shape its future, whilst ensuring that all parts of society benefit from having a robust and dynamic payments platform in place. This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities; the combination of acceleration in consumer expectation, with the chance to pull together experts in their field and the mandate to project from a resilient, world-leading capability to deliver the future of the UK’s payments industry.

“I am particularly looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the gamut of payment system users, big and small, in order to deliver a payment system for the UK that enables competition to thrive whilst providing the foundation for innovation to flourish. I can’t wait to work with the team and collaborate with the wider stakeholders in the market to pursue the mission of a globally-competitive payments industry.”

Melanie Johnson, who was appointed as independent Chair of the new payment system operator on 7 August, led the selection process, which was run on an open basis by independent executive recruitment consultants. Of the appointment, Melanie Johnson said:

“We are delighted to have been able to secure the appointment of Paul Horlock as the Chief Executive of the new payment system operator. Paul is a highly-respected figure amongst the payments industry and his strong track record and leadership expertise will help ensure that we are well-placed to deliver the necessary outcomes that can make the UK’s payments industry the envy of the world.  Paul is going to play a crucial role in leading the new payment system operator through this important period, especially given his breadth of experience in successfully delivering change whilst remaining focused on maintaining excellent service delivery.”

The appointment of the new Chief Executive follows the successful creation of the corporate entity for the new payment system operator (NPSO). NPSO Limited was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee.

The next steps and progress made by the new payment system operator will be announced in due course.

Responsibility for leading the recruitment process for the new chair was conferred on the Payment System Operator Delivery Group by the Bank of England and Payment Systems Regulator as part of the updated terms of reference setting out the process for managing the transition to the NPSO.

The Payment System Operator Delivery Group report, which sets out the recommended delivery plan for the consolidation was published on 4 May 2017: https://www.psr.org.uk/psr-focus/payment-system-operator-delivery-group. The consolidation was approved by the Competition and Markets Authority on 19 July: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/bacs-payment-schemes-faster-payments-scheme-cheque-credit-clearing-company-merger-inquiry

Prior to his appointment at the new payment system operator, Paul joined Nationwide Building Society in 2010 with accountability for a full range of end to end payments services provided to the Society’s 15 million members.  He has driven changes such as Contactless cards, Paym, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay to deliver market-leading services in the evolving digital marketplace.  Paul has represented Nationwide on the boards of Vocalink and Payments UK. He led the set-up of the Open Banking Implementation Entity and chairs the ‘Design Hub’ at the Payments Strategy Forum.  Previously, Paul spent eight years with Barclays as Head of Global Payments Processing.

NPSO Limited is the holding name for the company that has been set up to consolidate Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (Bacs), Faster Payments Scheme Limited (FPSL), and the Image Clearing System (ICS) which will replace the paper processing system for cheques currently managed by the Cheque & Credit Clearing Company (C&CCC). Bringing all of these retail payment services together will reduce complexity and provide a platform for innovation. With a combined £6.4 trillion of payments processed each year, the company will support a vibrant UK economy by enabling a globally-competitive payments industry in the UK.

The consolidation is an important part of the strategy for payments in the UK and will allow greater independence, a more dynamic, competitive and innovative business environment and benefit all users of payments including consumers, businesses, the third sector, government, and payment service providers.

The proposal for the new payment system operator was created by the Payment System Operator Delivery Group, an independently chaired body set up by the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) and the Bank of England. It was incorporated on 18 July 2017 as a company limited by guarantee. The new payment system operator’s independent Chair, Melanie Johnson, was appointed on 7 August 2017 and took up the position on 1 September 2017. www.newpso.uk