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Margaret Cole to leave FSA

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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.”

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Readers' comments (14)

  • Which bank is she moving to?
    Or is it one of the Big 4?

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  • So leaves in April and gets 5 months gardening leave. Interersting...

    The word "jumped", "before" and "pushed" spring immediately to mind.

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  • Bye

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  • The first comment does raise the question as to why senior regulators are permitted to move to firms that they previously regulated.

    As with senior politicians, they should be prohibited, for at least two years, from taking up any senior with regulated firms.

    Otherwise, serious questions could be raised in respect of policy or operational decisions taken by them in their last few years of office.

    For example, if Ms Cole accepted a position with Capita, people may wonder if the possibility of a position had influenced her controversial comments, or the FSA's actions, in respect of the Arch cru fiasco ........

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  • Its like the Titanic everybody off
    I noticed she said "the FSA is not afraid to take on difficult cases" erm the Banks not only did you not take them on you gave them a helping hand
    Garden leave, she wants putting on the compost heap

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  • There is no accountability!
    After 7yrs just before RDR begins she leaves having spent her time making life difficult for those of us who are just trying to do the best for our clients.

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  • This in a week when the FSA permanently shelves the individual registration of mortgage and GI advisers. Of course the vast majority are great people but perhaps they did realise that they might be just a tad embarrassed at what that might have uncovered as going on under their noses? I feel that might have been a bit too difficult for Ms Cole & co.

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  • There is no legal equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath so it can’t be that this very clever legal mind has worked out that the FSA is actually a dictatorship. You see the executive FSA is not supposed to make laws (the role of the legislature) or interpret them (the role of the judiciary). The role of the executive is to enforce the law as written by the legislature and for its actions to be adjudicated upon by the judicial system. Surely RDR is legislation on the hoof by an unelected quango!

    Make no mistake about this the FSA is the government – and it (The FSA) is used to operate outside of the law, judiciary and legislature.

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  • I would like to state on the record my appreciation and express my sincere thanks to Margaret Cole for her diligent and selfless

    No not really I REALLY want to say ......PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take Sants with you.

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  • Ms Cole leaving in the midst of the life settlement investment review............ Interesting! Perhaps something toxic going on here! Her last efforts have certainly not served investors in particular funds very well at all!

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