Sants quit the regulator this week and will leave the FSA in the summer after three years as chief executive. He says he always intended to stay in the role only for a three-year term.
The FSA says it has yet to decide whether the process to replace Sants will begin before the general election. The Conservatives are committed to scrapping the FSA, passing prudential regulation to the Bank of England and setting up a Consumer Protection Agency.
Informed Choice chief executive Nick Bamford says Sants has presided over open conflict between the regulator and small IFAs.
He says: “I think the legacy he leaves is disappointment in the performance of the regulator and outright conflict in some sectors, with a feeling among small IFAs, whether proven or unproven, that the regulator does not like small firms and would like to see the back of them. I do not think he is leaving too many positives behind.”
Affluent Financial Planning managing director Carl Melvin says Sants was wrong to take an “adversarial approach” to the IFA sector.
He says: “The RDR will work better if we collaborate. I do not think his idea of taking a big stick and beating us over the head was very clever.
Now he is jumping ship two years before the RDR comes in. Why didn’t he see the project through? I can only suspect that he realises there are going to be some serious issues com- ing on the back of the RDR.”
Alan Steel Asset Management chairman Alan Steel says: “The reality is if you talk to any IFA who is willing to tell you the truth, you will find all of them have still got stories of customers going into a bank or building society and getting stitched up. It still happens.
“The IFAs are working with one hand behind our backs and, meanwhile, banks and building societies with direct-sales teams are getting away with murder.”