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Davies move sparks calls for FSA role to be split

FSA chairman and chief executive Howard Davies plans to step down from the regulator next September to become director of the London School of Economics.

The shock announcement leaves the industry wondering who and how many individuals will replace Davies in less than a year&#39s time at the helm of the FSA.

Davies&#39 contract was due to expire on January 1, 2004, meaning that he is departing three months early for the job at the LSE.

He will leave at a time when the regulator is under considerable pressure over its performance on a number of issues, including the Equit-able Life saga, the mortgage endowment issue, the split-caps investment trust crisis and IFAs&#39 professional indemnity insurance woes.

Aifa, however, says the timing of Davies&#39 departure is a shame as it believes the rethink over polarisation reform is evidence that he is starting to listen to the concerns of IFAs.

Others, including IFAs, politicians of all parties and the ABI, believe Davies&#39 dep-arture is a good time to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, bringing in two individuals to replace him.

Aifa director general Paul Smee says: “He was given an impossible task and he has done it pretty well. I think it is a pity that he is moving on at a time when his actions demonstrate more of a willingness to listen to small businessmen.”

IFA Michael Philips proprietor Michael Both says: “He has had a very difficult job but I do not think he has done a very good job. I think it should definitely be separate roles.

“If in large corporations there is a recognised need for separate roles, in the regulator, there is a much clearer need.”

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