Crime crackdown chief Cole quits FSA

FSA conduct business unit managing director and former director of enforcement Margaret Cole is to leave the regulator.

Cole has been at the FSA for nearly seven years. She will remain in her current role and on the FSA board until the end of March when she will go on gardening leave until August 31 but may represent the FSA during that time on issues not related to individual regulated firms or ongoing investigations. Cole’s total salary including benefits is £263,686, according to the FSA’s 2010/11 annual report.

She joined the FSA as director of enforcement in July 2005 after 20 years in private practice where she specialised in commercial litigation. At the FSA, she manages a division of 450 people and has responsibility for enforcement policy, intelligence gathering, forensic investigations and civil and criminal proceedings in areas that include market abuse and financial crime.

Cole led the FSA’s drive to deliver a credible deterrence strategy and is widely accredited with aggressively pursuing insider dealing cases.

Last year saw the FSA secure 11 convictions for insider dealing with a further 16 awaiting trial, and fines levied totalling £66m.

She also led the work in shaping the new regulatory structure and the approach under the Financial Conduct Authority, which will be implemented early next year.

Cole says: “It has been a challenging but rewarding few years and I believe, with the help of a team of quality people, I have created a successful enforcement platform to take into the UK’s new regulatory authorities. The time has come for me to seek a fresh challenge, knowing that I leave the continuation of a winning strategy in safe hands.”

FSA chief executive Hector Sants says: “Margaret has been pivotal in transforming the FSA’s approach to enforcement and she leaves a substantial legacy, widely respected in legal, regulatory and international circles.”

Baronworth Investment Services director Colin Jackson says: “Someone with Cole’s experience has probably been headhunted by another major organisation. As a number of senior people within the FSA have now left, the regulator will be keen to keep the senior competent people that are still there.”