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Hector Sants to step down from FSA

Hector Sants is set to leave the FSA in the summer, after three years as chief executive.

In a statement, released this morning, Sants says he only ever intended to stay in the role for a three year term.

Sants was considered to be in the running to become Bank of England deputy governor under a Conservative government, despite his outspoken attack on Tory plans to disband the FSA and pass prudential regulation to the Bank of England.

Sants says: “When I was appointed I told the board that I planned to serve as chief executive for three years and I intend to stick to that timetable.

“Of course, those three years have encompassed the most extraordinary circumstances for a financial regulator and I am very proud of the manner in which the FSA rose to the challenge of dealing with such unprecedented turbulence across global financial markets.

“Moreover, I believe the FSA candidly examined the failings in financial regulation that contributed to the onset of the crisis, learned the lessons and has gone on to reform itself into a much stronger and better equipped organisation.

“The success of any regulatory structure depends on ensuring supervision is carried out by high-quality supervisors with sufficient resources and specialist support.

“I believe the FSA has made great strides in ensuring that such individuals are in place in the UK and I am sure that after I leave they will continue to do invaluable work to ensure financial stability and protect the interests of consumers.”

Chairman Adair Turner says: “Hector has given outstanding service and leadership through the turbulent last three years and has played a pivotal role in reforming the FSA into a truly effective organisation.

“He will leave behind an organisation with strong purpose and a clear strategy. We will be immensely sorry to lose him, but understand his decision to move on in the summer and wish him well in whatever he chooses to do after his departure.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work together to deliver the FSA’s reformed and intensive supervisory approach and drive forward the global regulatory reform agenda.”

The FSA board will announce the process for finding a successor in due course.


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There are 47 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “He will leave behind an organisation with strong purpose and a clear strategy.”

    Nope. He’ll leave behind an organisation riddled with a sorry history of blunders, that is institutionally incompetent and that will be chopped within a year or two.

  2. Good riddance to bad rubbish

  3. “Proud of the way the FSA rose to the challenge”??

    What planet is this man on – he is clearly delusional!

  4. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 9th February 2010 at 10:37 am

    The sooner the whole of the FSA staff disappear the better for everyone. For both industry and the consumer as they have done nothing to help to help the public to take personal responsibility with their finances. In fact they are the instigators of scaremongering. Goodbye QUANGO!

  5. Errr …[AT]: ‘… leave behind an organisation with strong purpose and a clear strategy …’ & [HS]: ‘… they will continue to do invaluable work to ensure financial stability and protect the interests of consumers … ‘ – are you sh***ing me??

    Oops, sorry – it has – to ensure that the Banks take over from IFAs and screw over consumers big time!! After all when did the FSA chase the over-complained-about banks??

    Lemme guess, is he off to a highly paid banking/consultancy/quango job ??

    Oh, and his successor … … another Banker/former Banker … … ??


  6. “Hector has given outstanding service and leadership… “What utter tosh! The man was responsible for a regulatory process that allowed the UK financial system to slide down a black hole, solely because it was not being properly regulated. Fred the shred was a minor party in terms of responsibility when compared to the leading figures at the FSA. Off now for a fat taxpayer funded pension. Good Lord, what next.

  7. I hear Peter Stringfellow is being touted to take over…..

  8. He is the man who has kept 200 honest Park Row advisers off the road for 3 months causing widespread misery to many.

    The FSA are a joke

  9. Excellent news. Sants and his woeful organisation have much responsibility for the awful mess this country’s economy and financial system are in.

  10. Harrow Downtrodden 9th February 2010 at 10:45 am

    Well, well Hector will be soon working for one of the Banks, as he knows, he’s made them the most powerful Financial Institutions in the UK.

    With all the new rules driving business to them. Another job for the Boys.
    I hope he’s happy with the way he’s stiffled the life out of the small IFA.

  11. Chairman Adair Turner says: “Hector has given outstanding service and leadership through the turbulent last three years and has played a pivotal role in reforming the FSA into a truly effective organisation.

    An effective organisation would not have allowed the demise of Northern Rock, B&B, RBS, the near destruction of LLoyds, the introduction of a regime no-one understands including the FSA [ TCF]. New capital rules that will destroy the mutual sector, the creation of more banks on the High Street to replace the ones they broke. The building of a bureaucratic giant that stiffles business and confuses the living daylights out of customers. Bring back the Bank of England

  12. Proud? Rose to the challenge?

    Presumably the challenge was to see how big a c..k up one could make of a once proud industry. In that case he was signally successful!

    Bet he goes back into banking…

  13. 1 down….
    the fsa will definitely be insolvent by the time they pay hector his big bucks golden handshake, not to mention the champagne & canape farewell.
    He must be moving to a bank just in time to reap the benefit of the RDR.

  14. If that is classified as “outstanding service and leadership” the dictionary needs rewriting!!

    Good riddance, only trouble is there are plenty more like him waiting in the wings!

  15. is financial services in better shape than 20 years ago –NO
    are people saving more –No
    is any one selling pensions –NO
    interest rates at all time low can business now get a loan–NO
    Has the FSA helped the consumer -NO
    Will Sants get a nice send off and serious money put into his pension–YES

  16. I notice that most people not willing to give helpful feedback and are choosing to remain anonymous. It is true that the FSA has not regulated financial services in the way that we would all like to see. It is clear that financial services does need to be regulated as you only have to look at the banking crisis and indeed what financial services used to be like back in the 80s and early 90s to understand that one. It’s never popular to take Financial Consultants or firms of the road but sometimes there are reasons behind it and not all of these are put into the public domain.

    I think the FSA and indeed the FSO needs change but just to throw the whole system out and to start from scratch as the Conservatives suggest will only cost money and mean more training for IFA’s and in reality probably come up with worse system. What we need to do is to make the system work and clearly Mr Sants was not the man to do that.

    What the FSA has to do is to bring in strong regulation around Banks and Insurance Companies and to encourage the vibrant and secure IFA market. As customer service proof that IFA’s have a high satisfactory rating and a low complaint level. Compare this with the banks and insurance company record and giving advice with high complaints and a very low customer satisfactory surveys.

    As IFAs this is the sort of feedback that we need to give the FSA rather than just taking cheap shots. If we were to continue with the sort of feed back the regulator will not take IFA’s seriously and we will be the losers. This is not brown nosing it is just a sensible way of try and influence a debate in reform and to improve the IFA’s lot.

  17. He will leave with a Golden Goodbye, a reward for heading up an unelected quango with quasi judicial powers and a callous disregard for the many good people that will be destroyed by the anticipated and illegal cull of a predicted 10,000 advisers most of whom have an exemplary complaints record.

    Am I sorry to see him go – no because these parasites hop onto the back of another beast from whence they can draw yet more blood without accountability for the welfare of the animal they infect.

  18. The mandate given to the FSA by the Government was doomed at birth. Regulating banks is quite different to regulating advisers. The whole process is a costly disaster now embroidered with bonuses at the tax payers expense. Where is the value for money? Where is the accountability? Lest we forget the banking crisis started during the tenure of Hector Sants. Banks were simply allowed to lend without hindrance. Who was looking at their balance sheets? The regulatory culture was already embedded in the Bank of England. Moving this responsibilty to a new quango called the Financial Services Authority was foolhardy and unnecessary. Our salvation starts with a regime change on the 6th May 2010.

  19. The comments above say it all!
    Just to add, our once fantastic industry is now a complete shambles thanks to the FSA.
    The FSA continue to completely over complicate an already complex industry.
    The people who matter most, our clients don’t have a clue what’s going on.
    Good riddence

  20. I may be a conspiracy theorist but I get the feeling that when I eventually meet people they are soon gone.

    But seriously, there has to be great concern that whilst those at the top play games with all our futures we worry about who is looking after the long term interests of our clients, the consumers. From down here we all see a merry-go-round of bankers, McKinsey people, and politicians faking expenses claims, even using the Bill of Rights as a defence for doing so, what a cheek.

    It was goodbye to John Tiner (middle names Justin Time), farewell to David Kenmir (creator of the Kenmir Effect), bye to Hector Sants, possibly ta ta to Brown.

    We have recycled more regulators than we can name in this small space, New Labour created a ‘Tripartite’ system, the Tories who at the time voted for that now say we must try something else, another stab in the dark? Another game of political football? Meanwhile we ask if the consumer is one iota better off for all this recycled regulation, not in my opinion.

    Hector should spend more time with his family; he is a decent man who obviously had a difficult time controlling all those civil servants who find it hard to listen to reason. I’m glad I met him before he went; hope that wasn’t the reason for his departure!

    Finally, we should be worried because things could get worse, in the meantime the banks and the networks who wanted the ‘restricted advice’ or multi tie element of the RDR have won the tug of war while small firms have once again allowed the more powerful (and well financed) lobby groups to have their cake and eat it. Divided you fall folks, gathering IFAs together is like herding cats. Prove me wrong and we could make a difference.

  21. Did you know Hector Sants is an Anagram for Tos Snatcher?

  22. We should fear the unknown.

    Sants certainly appeared to be a well-meaning fellow and no doubt had great interpersonal skills and knowledge of banking structures.

    Unfortunately neither he nor any of his underlings has shown the slightest knowledge of or, dare I say, interest in finding out about, how retail financial services actually operates.

    Hectors demise offers an opportunity for a new captain to take the ship forward whilst avoiding the RDR iceberg.

    Will it happen? The Treasury decides who will run the FSA – yes, the very body that Mark Hoban assured me has no connection with or oversight of the FSA.

    The Treasury does not like IFAs and we can be sure that whoever they replace Hector with will be a person of vision – Mr Magoo, perhaps.

  23. A nation mourns (as they say).
    This is the man who was unable to tell the Parliamentary Committee how many advisers would be affected by the move to level 4 proposal; and when asked in that event to give only a ball park figure, was…unable to give that either.
    Genuinely no wish to be unkind but this is something less than a sad loss to the FSA and the industry

  24. I am personally very sorry Hector Sants is leaving. Having had frequent dealings with the FSA in the past year because of the HBOS Reading scandal, I can say Hector Sants has been the only person who appeared to want the matter dealt with seriously. And I can’t help wondering if that directness has caused issues within the FSA as other people involved with the apparent investigation of the HBOS fiasco have been far less forthcoming.
    When Hector Sants said “people should be very afraid of the FSA” (meaning the financial sector) I think he intended to make that statement a reality. I’m equally sure, Gordon Brown’s Government would never have allowed such a scenario to exist.
    If there was no point in the existence of the FSA before, there’s even less point now.

  25. If you put a decent person in charge of an indecent organaisation he will eventually leave, that is assuming he is in fact decent. In this case he will leave before the effects of the RDR will be known, in fact they are always all gone before any effects of what they do are uncovered, take the LAUTRO fiasco for example.

    All this talk of financial stability, I see none in this industry, or this once proud country.

  26. In support of all the contributions, I must ask if Sants is suitable for Public Office and will he become Fred the Shred mark ll,. Heavy Heavy golden goodbye (funded by grateful members) and a Heavy Heavy golden hello from the B.O.E or Treasury gifted by the grateful public.

    Then there is the Pension Pot or Pots.

    But its all my fault instead of being an IFA, I should have become a regulator.

  27. paolo standerwick 9th February 2010 at 11:34 am

    Some Governments’ do avem!

    I hear Frank Spencer is looking for a job?

  28. Press staement:

    I wish to quell all rumours regarding my meeting with Hector Sants, it was not my mission to recruit him as the next unpaid representative of IFAs.

  29. Rats and sinking ships ??

  30. Evan( Owen) thinks things could get worse! How much worse can it be for those who will be denied their livelihood – destroyed by people like Sants! A decent man he may be but the world is full of decent men who do and say nothing to uphold what is right and what is wrong. This will be his legacy – a man who did and said nothing while independent advice was destroyed by RDR in favour of the banks.

  31. Although some people have given odds of 12:1 that I get the job my personal assessment is 12000000:1 on.

    But if I do get the job the printers would be busy producing P45 forms so at least there would be some short term work.

    Now then, if this doesn’t happen I need to meet as many FSA people as possible, if Evan’s revised theory of relativity is correct in that the presence of my body throws their heavenly bodies off course each and every time without fail.

    Ah, well back to the grind in this decrepit terraced house we call home, for now.

  32. How successful he has been depends on whether the FSA is supposed to be a preventor or a policeman. I see the main problem being that the FS&MA 2000 as being too flexible and allowing the FSA to be too secretive and unaccountable. The Act even gives the FOS the power to determine as a matter of opinion what is fair and reasonable. If you make a complaint they fill in a form for your entering what they think the complaint is about. Your complaint will not be considered if you fail to sign and return the form!

  33. Can I apply for the job please? I have all the non-qualifications!

  34. Don’t get too excited about Hector leaving. When he ends up at the Bank of England as deputy governor with its new enlarged regulatory remit, what do you think Hector will be in charge of? – Regulation of the systematically important financial institutions!

  35. Simon Mansell.

    It WILL get worse because even if you comply with the RDR and anything else the CPA (Nee FSA) comes up with the EU has it in for you too and, at the moment, there is nothing you can do to convince them that you add any value to the advice process, the French and zee Chermans in particular want everything sold by the banks as a few shades of grey. Given that the lapse ratio in places like Germany is 85% you wonder what benefit that is to ‘consumers’ or whatever they call them across the Channel, they are decades behind the UK and they want to drag us back to the stone age.

    Yes, be afraid of the CPA (nee FSA) but be absolutely terrified of the Frogs.

  36. Michael White CEO Emailmortgages 9th February 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Yes, x30 to all the above, unfortunately.

    The whole episode is somewhat cringe worthy, but there is no shame at this level of politics…and yes I choose my words carefully. The FSA is ostensibly a shambles, with hindsight – a wonderful thing! there was really no need to move away from self regulation, regardless of some of the plus points, because they are so heavily outweighed by the many and continuing errors.

    Many people are a victim of circumstance and wind up working for a manager who is weak
    and ineffective. It is also true that some CEOs are just plain bad/incompetent people. In which case they have no respect for others nor do they respect their professional environment or the company they work for. These words may sound harsh but they are possibly close to the truth. Moreover, too many CEOs have been trained to manage by numbers. This can work to some degree in large organisations, but not the FSA.

    Ultimately, many difficult CEOs surround themselves with “yes” people. People who tell them they are doing well when their performance is terrible. Since they are apt to surround themselves with people that exemplify their behaviour, they really don’t know that their performance is less than satisfactory. The press release today is a good example of this.

    We now all await the comments of the CML and of course the ever present AMI………..

  37. Mr Sants’ legacy will be that, in fiddling while Rome burns, he destroyed the finest section of the UK retail financial services market. For that he should be ashamed.

  38. Most of the comments are correct. This Government with its FSA has damaged the financial industry and it is in the Doldrums. The consumer has had to pay for all this dabbling with regulations, which are in utter confusion! The economy will not recover till the FSA is abolished and a sensible approach is taken to regulations. The consumer is worse off financially! The trusted, small advisers have been decimated. We need to reduce costs and get a prudent, practical regulatory regime. The FSA needs to change or be abolished.

  39. This useless nonentity has achieved nothing during his tenure at the FSA, in fact he has presided over a disastrous collapse in the banking system from which he and his overpaid colleagues were supposed to protect us.
    Now, let us see the next chapter in this sorry story- no doubt an announcement will be made shortly from some major institution to the effect that Sants has joined them in a highly paid position. More rewards for failure-it stinks.

  40. It’s like some exclusive club. Incompetent individuals in the banks and the regulators move from one highly paid position to another, taking with them their huge pension pots. They leave behind a legacy of broken career paths and absolute mess. Stay 2 or 3 years in the new position before the head hunters move them on again.

  41. At least the mafia give you protection .He helped fleece an industry now jumping ship has not got the honour to go down with it.

  42. Anonymous should know that Sants’ pension entitlement for his three years stirling service is funded not by the taxpayer, but by you and me!!!

    Based as well on a ridiculous salary package. I don’t have time to check now, but isn’t it close to a million? These people really do take the piss.

    Bet that makes you feel even better!

  43. The message is obviously clear and unanimous from the messages I have read, but will anything change? NO. politics is a very powerful tool and it is all about them and us. The “Them” are the heads of industry or politicians. We see the same names move from one top job to another, I take my hat of to them, they must be fantastic salesmen. Who else can be paid huge sums, do a rubbish job, pass the buck when things go wrong, and still line up a new appointment and why do the boards of these companies accept it when someone says “I am only going to be here for a few years” then I am off onto something else. The FSA has criticised the bonus structure within banks for encouraging short term profits. Long term stability is what is needed in all quarters of the financial world, so one of the most important jobs in the financial world operates a revolving door policy for the top man. So a new man comes in, wants to make his mark by changing everything and causes more disruption and just when we get to grips with that, they change again. It seams we live in a world where we somehow feel we need to change to get better. Has nobody ever thought of just fixing the wheel instead of trying to reinvent it. Give Alan Sugar the job, he would have a right good laugh. Just imagine if the task on “your fired” was for someone to present the sales process for selling financial products and how you are liable for the next 1000 years for the client to change their mind . Could he have sold his beetroot and his Amstrad products with these obsticles. Just like the small towns that have become ghost towns when Tesco’s have moved in it is too late to turn back the clock. the financial services industry as we knew it is gone for ever and we have gone back 150 years when only the rich could afford or had access to advice. Sorry, I forgot, we (local advisers) have been replaced by the dot com’s of this world. in a world of political correctness and companies having to set up all sorts of benefits for employees, what is going on in the financial services industry. There is no consultation on whether anything is right or fair, we are told this is how it is from now on guys, and everytime it happens we roll over, reinvent and get on with it. well i think this time evrything has gone too far. I normally put my name to these editorials but I feel I should do like everyone else and go annonymous, sad isn’t it.

  44. it is frightening that someone with such a lack of understanding of the financial industry, and what the public needs to be able to make informed finacial decisions, reached such a position. Unfortunately he is not the only one.

    Will someone please come to the fore with “just some common sense”

  45. Thank goodness. Hopefully the FSA will be disbanded and we can return to proper prudent fiscal control. In addition I trust he is not going with a large pay off as was seen with the Fat Cat bankers.

  46. In the 1950’s and 1960’s when there was a stop-go economy, the government intervened. In the 1990’s up until recently the government has had a laissez-faire approach – the FSA was established to check and try to put a break on the economy driven not by manufacturing byt by property – and as a consequence thousands in the property industry have been adversely affected. The homeowners who were enriched by their properties alone, have suffered too. The fault lies not with the FSA but with government which had placed too much emphasis on the futures market and had failed to place strict fiscal controls. The FSA or the Bank of England cannot be expected to make up for poor government. With respect to the officers of the FSA and their salaries etc – they are well within the standard. There needs to be a radical change in the economic policy – and this means everyone should be more realistic. Of course the name calling – fat cats – is understandable, however it seems an entire nation became fat cats – by doing nothing – and that was unfortunately a fact.

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