FSA Enforcement Chief Quits

Feb 16 2012 | 2:47am ET

The Financial Services Authority's top cop is stepping down next month rather than wait for her job to be given to someone else after the regulator's reorganization early next year.

Margaret Cole will leave her post as managing director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA at the end of March. Her exit comes at an increasingly busy time for the FSA's enforcement forces, including fines levied against Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn and the former head of private equity firm J.C. Flowers' U.K. operations last month alone, but also as the FSA prepares to be disbanded and to have its powers divided between the Bank of England and the new Financial Conduct Authority.

The FCA, which will takeover much of the responsibility that Cole has held on an interim basis since last year, will be led by former Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission Chairman Martin Wheatley.

"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," Cole said in a statement. "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."

Cole, who has been with the FSA since 2005, has publicly opposed the breakup of the FSA, scheduled for early next year.

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