FSA Enforcement Chief Decries Planned Breakup

Jun 23 2010 | 1:15pm ET

With the Financial Services Authority now on borrowed time, its enforcement chief is pleading for the life of her employer.

Margaret Cole told the FSA enforcement conference yesterday at abolishing the regulator will imperil its newly-active prosecution of insider-trading cases and other criminal offenses.

“It's important, if we are to continue to get results, that this pipeline isn’t disrupted, especially because these complex matters have a long investigatory period before charging and a lengthy court process before trial,” she said. “We must build on this progress—not lose it.”

Her remarks come less than a week after new British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced plans to do away with the financial regulator, making good on a Conservative Party campaign pledge. Osborne’s plan would turn most of the FSA’s regulatory powers over to the Bank of England.

The FSA has won its first few insider-trading cases in recent months, and won its first guilty plea in such a case—from a former hedge fund trader—this year.

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