October 15, 2020

Revolut nominates city veteran to lead UK bank bid, hoping 'white hairs' will woo regulators

Richard Holmes has been appointed to build a team that will boost Revolut's chances of securing a UK bank license

Isabel Woodford

1 min read

London fintech Revolut has nominated ex-Standard Chartered chief Richard Holmes to oversee its UK bank licence application, sources close to the matter have told Sifted.

Holmes will become Chairman of Revolut's UK entity, subject to regulatory approval.

His appointment is a vital step in Revolut's mission to become a UK bank, with Holmes set to hire a fully functioning board for the new entity — including a full-time UK chief executive (CEO).

Having a complete board in place is now a requirement when applying for a UK bank licence, with regulators getting tougher on prospective banks.


Insiders say Revolut has been courting potential candidates for months, hoping to nab somebody with enough clout and experience to convince regulators that it can become a responsible UK bank.

Like other fintechs, Revolut has faced scrutiny over the capability of its compliance systems to manage the 11m customers it now services. As such, it has brought on a series of heavyweights to boost its corporate governance.

Holmes seems to be the latest addition to the "white hair" army, having served as chief executive Europe at Standard Chartered, and then CEO at American Express Bank. He joined Natwest this year and is now a non-executive at Ulster Bank in Ireland, having also held a number of industry body positions in the UK.

Last year, Revolut appointed Martin Gilbert — an asset management industry veteran — as Chairman of the entire company.

If approved by the regulator, Holmes will sit beneath Gilbert, who will continue as Chair of the wider entity. Insiders at the company say it could take months for Holmes to be approved, however.

A Revolut spokesperson declined to comment on the nomination but confirmed Holmes was now acting as an advisor to the company. Mr Holmes did not respond to a request for comment.