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Who will follow in Howard&#39s way?

It looks like it is not only IFAs who had a tough year in 2002. Unlike Sir Howard Davies, however, they don&#39t have the option of bowing out of the industry for a job in academia.

It may come as a surprise to IFAs that the FSA chairman and chief executive, long believed to be a lover of the limelight, is leaving the regulator next September for the comparatively less public role of heading the London School of Economics.

He will leave behind him a mixed legacy from his six years at the helm of the FSA and its predecessors.

Credit must be given for the job he and his team have done in bringing together 10 separate regulatory bodies into one functioning organisation.

However, serious doubts remain about the FSA&#39s ability to deal with crises which emerge. The list of unresolved issues is long – Equitable Life, mortgage endowments, split-cap investment trusts and professional indemnity insurance to name but a few.

Now that Davies has given notice, the inevitable debate about separating the roles of chairman and chief executive re-emerges.

It is essential not only for the roles to be split but for a new chief executive to be named as soon as possible. It only makes sense for the new person to shadow Davies for as long a possible. The role of chairman can probably wait.

Otherwise, come next September, the FSA, the industry and consumers will have to deal with two new faces, a situation which cannot be considered desirable by anyone.

Money Marketing believes the Chancellor would be wise to appoint a chairman from the industry and a chief executive with practical experience in running a regulator. But whatever his decision, he should split the roles and announce the chief executive soon.

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