Margaret Cole to leave FSA

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

Cole (pictured), who is also an FSA board member, will leave the FSA after nearly seven years at the regulator. She will remain in her current role and on the FSA board until the end of March.

Cole will then be 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.

Managing a division of 450 people, she had 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 its 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.

Cole 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: “We have shown the FSA is not afraid to take on difficult cases and will not shy away from pursuing criminal prosecutions, however difficult to prove. It is painstaking work and the legal process takes a long time but there are people sitting in prison now because of our commitment. And the next 12 months will see more trials and more convictions as the pipeline of our cases comes to fruition in the courts.

“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.

“I would like to express my personal thanks, and those of the organisation, for all that Margaret has achieved and I wish her every success in whatever future challenge she chooses next.”