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FSA Chief Executive: Will it be an inside or an outside job?

John Tiner will “pass on the baton” of chief executive in the middle of the FSA’s move to principle-based regulation and with the retail distribution review in full swing.

Aifa director general Chris Cummings says he hopes a new appointment will lead to the FSA re-evaluating the scope, scale and direction of the review.

But Personal Finance Society public affairs director John Ellis says with so many regulatory false starts in recent years, the new chief executive must consolidate the move to a principle-based regime and ensure radical thinking is encouraged to flourish as part of the distribution review.

Ellis says he is encouraged by recent soundings from the FSA that voices recommending a review that simply tinkers with the current framework are “kicked into touch”.

He suggests that managing director of retail markets Clive Briault, who has been leading much of the principle-based work and is heavily involved with the review, would be an impressive candidate.

Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann agrees that an internal candidate would be a positive move in continuing the found-ations for the retail distri-bution review and principle-based regulation.

Cann suggests that managing director David Kenmir, out of a possible three internal candidates, probably has the best knowledge of the adviser sector and could be a good choice.

He says that whoever gets the job will have to show strong leadership skills to take the “tough decisions” that will need to be made at the end of the distribution review.

Compliance consultant Adam Samuels suggests that after the internal appointment of Tiner last time round, a fresh face from outside the regulator, such as former HBOS chief executive James Crosby, will shake-up the organisation and inject some new thinking.

Cummings says: “We want someone who will listen to genuine concerns of the adviser community as well as being pragmatic in his judgements and willing to take wide council. We hope the new chief executive will take a long, hard look about the way that the distribution review is progressing.”

Cann says: “The new chief executive will need to demonstrate strong leadership skills and willingness to take the difficult decisions that will need to be taken as result of the review. They should be someone who is not constrained by current constraints and is willing to take up the challenge of thinking creatively.”

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