Margaret Cole to Leave FSA

Kimberly Watson, Editor in Chief
February 20, 2012 /

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that managing director and Board member, Margaret Cole, will leave the organisation later this year. Cole spent nearly seven years at the UK regulator.

Margaret Cole, said: “I joined the FSA to help in the fight against wrongdoing within the financial services industry and I believe a lot has been achieved in my time here.

“We have shown the FSA is not afraid to take on difficult cases and will not shy away from pursuing criminal prosecutions, however difficult to prove. It’s painstaking work and the legal process takes a long time but there are people sitting in prison now because of our commitment. And the next 12 months will see more trials and more convictions as the pipeline of our cases comes to fruition in the courts.

“It has been a challenging but rewarding few years and I believe, with the help of a team of quality people, I have created a successful enforcement platform to take into the UK’s new regulatory authorities. The time has come for me to seek a fresh challenge, knowing that I leave the continuation of a winning strategy in safe hands.”

Hector Sants, FSA chief executive, said: “Margaret has been pivotal in transforming the FSA’s approach to enforcement and she leaves a substantial legacy, widely respected in legal, regulatory and international circles. She has been a strong leader and advocate of the importance of delivering a credible deterrent to those that attempt to commit wrongdoing, as well as being an invaluable member of my executive team. Her expertise across a broad range of management disciplines and the work she has done in setting up the conduct business unit has put us in good shape to develop the future conduct regulator.

“I would like to express my personal thanks, and those of the organisation, for all that Margaret has achieved and I wish her every success in whatever future challenge she chooses next.”

Adair Turner, FSA chairman, said: “On behalf of the FSA Board, I would like to extend my appreciation to Margaret for her outstanding contribution to the effectiveness of the FSA over the years, her strong management credentials and for the expertise and quality judgement she has brought to our Board discussions. She has made a lasting impact. We will be sorry to lose her for the organisation’s final year but she will depart with our thanks and best wishes.”

Martin Wheatley, CEO-designate of the FCA, said: “I’m enormously grateful to Margaret for establishing the conduct business unit, which will go on to form the foundation of the Financial Conduct Authority.”

Margaret Cole joined the FSA as director of enforcement in July 2005, after spending 20 years in private practice, specialising in commercial litigation.

Managing a division consisting of 450 people, she was responsible for enforcement policy, intelligence gathering, forensic investigations, and civil and criminal proceedings in areas that include market abuse and financial crime. She led the FSA’s drive to deliver its credible deterrence strategy, which in 2011 saw eleven convictions for insider dealing with sixteen awaiting trial and fines levied totalling £66m.

She was appointed to the FSA Board as managing director of enforcement and financial crime in September 2010 and, in April 2011 took on the role as the first managing director of the conduct business unit which will go on to become the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under the new regulatory structure. In that role she led the work that established the architecture and delivered the blueprint for the future FCA’s approach and has played a frontline role the FSA’s involvement in the current regulatory reform legislation.

Margaret will remain in her current role and on the FSA Board until the end of March, prior to the creation of twin peaks within the FSA on 2 April. She will then be on gardening leave until 31 August 2012 but may represent the FSA during that time on issues not related to individual regulated firms or ongoing investigations.

Margaret Cole has an MA in Law from New Hall, Cambridge and is a solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in private practice, specialising in commercial litigation with an emphasis on financial services. She is also qualified as a Mediator with CEDR and the ADR Group.

From 1990 to 1995, Margaret was a Partner with Stephenson Harwood where she was responsible for the recovery actions in relation to the Maxwell Pension Funds on behalf of the Pension Funds Trustee.

In 1995 she joined the London Office of international law firm White & Case to found and head its Dispute Resolution Department.

Notable cases at White & Case include representing RBC in proceedings in London and New York regarding an Enron-related $500 million swap transaction. On joining the FSA, Margaret was responsible for implementing a major reform of the enforcement process.

She subsequently devised and led a major restructuring and change programme to redirect the FSA’s enforcement division. In 2009 she also took on responsibility for the FSA’s financial crime and intelligence division. Margaret is a Non-Executive Director of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services.


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