Driving these ructions is, above all, fear of what a future Labour government might do. Alistair Darling, Labour's City spokesman, has expressed strong reservations about the way in which regulatory responsibilties are currently organised, and dropped broad hints about a radical restructuring, concentrating powers for regulating the financial services sector in one, central body.
Mr Sharples, arm-in-arm with Phillip Thorpe, chief executive of Imro, the fund managers' watchdog, are happy to accompany Mr Darling for the part of the journey that describes the current set-up as confusing. But they desert him brusquely at the point where he infers this can be improved by wrapping the powers of the SFA and Imro into a single, dominant entity, probably a super-SIB.
As Mr Sharples admitted yesterday, the latest round of proposals for getting tough with the City is as much about positioning the SFA for a future regulatory shake-up as anything else. Regulation is not widely held to be one of London's strongest features, as international financial centres compete ever more furiously. Mr Sharples is right to be worried about image. But it is questionable whether the present argy-bargy and muscle-flexing is going to provide a satisfactory solution.