Hector Sants' resignation shouldn't really come as a surprise - even turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
No doubt he has been trying to work out his future ever since the Conservatives launching an early salvo in their election campaign last year by suggesting they would abolish the FSA.
In private the Conservatives now understand that abolishing the FSA wouldn't achieve very much unless they had a cast iron replacement in mind already.
They don't - and even if they did where is the most experienced pool of staff to run a financial services regulator? Yes, at the FSA itself.
Imagine the bad publicity early into a new Conservative Government - they make all the FSA staff redundant and then almost immediately rehired them working for what ever organisation replaces the FSA.Suggestions for the name of a new regulator?
What is probably more likely is that the role and powers of the FSA under the Tories will be greatly diminished, with the likelihood that a combination of the Bankof England and the Department of Trade taking over some of its responsibilites.
For Sants that wuld see him running a much less important body. Can you blame for not wanting that?
With sensbible reflection I'd say he has done a pretty good job. The FSA is always on a hiding to nothing. If it never resourced properly, and the staff it does have are confined by the very slightly tems of referenece it operates under.
What is the FSA's role? To safe guard the consumer from fraud or create an environment for the financial services industry to operate more easily?
The answer is a bit of both - the Government's broader 'health safety' mentility has filtered down to our industry laving the FSA to create a regime almost strangled by compliance without any clear sign it does any good.
The nasty wake-up call for everyone in this country, except for a few smart people who saw it coming years agao, was the collapse of the banks.
The FSA has been foced to cary the can for the regulatory side of this, when it reality taking away supervision of the banks for the Bank of England 14 years ago is a major reason for this.
I've never met Hector Sants, but regularly speak to people who have dealt with him, and the view is he had a good sense of what he is doing.
He deserves credit for what e has achieved on his 'watch' and he's already had enough criticism for things that have gone wrong.
It is not the regulator which needs reforming, it's the Government's attitude of what it wants the regulator to do.
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