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”.
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.
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.
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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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.