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Who will get CPMA top job?

The FSA is to be split into two bodies in 2012. The Prudential Regulation Authority will be led by current FSA chief executive Hector Sants but the top job at the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority is still up for grabs. With a decision expected in the next couple of weeks, Steve Tolley looks at some of the front-runners

Martin Wheatley

Martin Wheatley
Wheatley plans to step down in June from his role as Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission chief executive, which he has held since 2006. He sat on the Listing Authority Advisory Committee from 2002 to 2004, which is an independent body that reports directly to the FSA board. He has broad, multinational experience in regulation and has been mooted as a leading candidate for the CPMA position. Announcing his resignation from the commission late last year, just three months before his contract ends, he told reporters it was “time to go back to the UK”.

John Fingleton

John Fingleton
Fingleton has been chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading since 2005 and has an academic background in economics, having studied under Nobel prize-winning economist Sir James Mirlees at Oxford University. Experience running an organisation with such a wide ranging business-based patch is likely to be seen as a key strength. His academic and professional work suggests he is likely to look at market failure by addressing how useful specific rules are in delivering good market outcomes.

Margaret Cole

Margaret Cole
Cole has been director of enforcement at the FSA since 2005 and, being an internal candidate, would deliver stability at the top of the organisation in a period of political uncertainty over the effectiveness of the new regulators. Experience as a partner at Stephenson Harwood from 1990 to 1995, responsible for recovery action on pensions, should work in her favour alongside the tough stance she is perceived to have taken on industry misdemeanours. But her appointment could be seen as likely to deliver more of the same at a time when the regulator is trying to change the way it operates. She is considered the leading inside candidate.

Carol Sergeant

Carol Sergeant
Sergeant worked at Lloyds Banking Group as chief risk director from 2003 until November last year. She joined Lloyds from the FSA, where she was managing director of the regulatory process and risks directorate. She left the FSA after losing her bid to be FSA chief executive after John Tiner. Given that the CPMA is going to have to work closely with the PRA, which is planned to sit within the Bank of England, Sergeant’s time at the bank between 1974 and 1997 is likely to hold her in good stead. Her career at the BoE culminated in her role as head of UK banks supervision. Insiders at the FSA say Sergeant “really is in the frame” for the job and her industry experience is likely to do her no harm.

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Paul Smee

Paul Smee
As ex-director general of Aifa, a role he held from 1999 to 2004, Smee might be seen as the IFAs’ favourite for the post. He has broad experience in the industry, including a stint as head of life insurance at the Association of British Insurers from 1994 to 1996 and has been chief executive of the Payments Council since 2007. He will have to run hard if he wants to win this race. The quasi-regulatory role of the Payments Council will be a string to his bow but, in comparison with the other candidates, he may not be seen as enough of a heavyweight for a job likely to come under intense scrutiny.


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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. There are two names on that list whom simply shouldn’t be “in the frame”.

    Why even consider candidates that have presided over demonstrable and catastrophic failure in the past?

  2. Martin Wheatley is probably the favourite but Paul Smee as stated would be my choice. Most definitely not Margaret Cole or Carol Sargeant otherwise we will be where we are now – ie no change in attitude or stance towards the IFA community

  3. How Lloyds Chief Risk Director can seriously even put herself forward is incredulous. All her experience suggests if she was going to do anything worhtwhile it should have been before now. From FSA to banks and back again. This cycle, sometimes also policitcal, is what has caused such narrow vision to prevail at the FSA. I dread more of the same getting in again so I hope the current FSA sneior staff have nothng to do with appointing it, including Magaret Cole.

  4. I met Paul Smee when he was DG at AIFA and we were very impressed – hes the man for me!

  5. I am sure the position will be given to one in the staff in the FSA as the current regulator has been so successful so far. That the PRA positon is going to be given to Sants shows how useful the change of the current system is going to be. Apart from costing an arm and a leg.

  6. Look at the job title and look at the candidates? Where would your vote go – another coalition maybe?

  7. Who cares – it’ll be a jobsworth who agrees not to rock the boat for the banks.

  8. In order run the CPMA in the manner we probably all expect, this role needs to be filled by someone capable of not listening, not understanding and with no real interest in either the public or advisers – has anyone considered Gordon Brown?

  9. I agree with many of the comments above that nobody with previous involvement with the old regulatory system or indeed senior bank should have anything to do with the new regulatory setup. I personally Hector Sants should also resign as I believe that is proven time and time again that he has vested interests in the banks as a previous UBS employee.

    Although we qualified individuals in these posts and understanding industry also need individuals that are not tainted from the previous structures. We also need some balance in top positions reflect the whole industry rather than just one segment e.g. banking. It is quite clear previous regulatory system had a heavy bias bank insurance and that model providing financial advice.

  10. Why not getting a member from one of the consumer organisations? Or is this just too obvious??

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