David Prosser: A missed opportunity at the CPMA

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The Independent Online

Outlook Credit where it is due. Having been toothless on the issue of insider dealing during its first decade of existence, the Financial Services Authority has won a string of convictions over the past 18 months, culminating in the Littlewood case that ended yesterday.

The plaudits for this remarkable improvement largely belong to Margaret Cole, the FSA's director of enforcement, who successfully fought for more resources with which to mount insider dealing investigations and then put them to excellent use.

What a pity, then, that Ms Cole was passed over in the hunt for a chief executive of the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority, which will be split out of the FSA next year. All the more so since Martin Wheatley, who pipped her to the post yesterday, has been earning his regulatory spurs in Hong Kong with a similar focus on insider dealing.

This is not to slight Mr Wheatley, or to argue that Ms Cole should have been hired just because of her gender, but we have just missed a golden opportunity to appoint an eminently well-qualified woman to one of the City's biggest jobs.

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