The Business On... Margaret Cole, Director of Enforcement, FSA

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The Independent Online

The FSA? Does that still exist?

For now, though the Coalition Government has pledged to break up the Financial Services Authority by parcelling out its duties to a number of other agencies, some new, some not so new.



Ms Cole is out of a job soon, then?

Probably not. Yesterday, she was appointed to the FSA's board for the first time. The smart money is betting that presages a senior appointment once the FSA shake-up is complete – either as head of the planned new consumer protection agency, or to run the economic crime unit the Government wants to create.



Is she up to it?

Are you kidding? This is the woman dubbed "the City's ball-breaker" for her efforts to crack down on insider dealing and other white-collar crime. Ms Cole has ramped up the FSA's enforcement staff to a 450-strong posse and authorised a series of raids on suspected miscreants. The convictions have begun to flow, too.



The City's old boys network must dislike her?

Probably – although she spent a number of years working for Stephenson Harwood, a City law firm, she wasn't part of the club. She spent a long period disentangling the messy collapse of the failed bank BCCI before working on behalf of the pensioners who lost out when the Maxwell companies failed.



A crusader for justice?

It would seem so: after Stephenson Harwood she spent a decade working for White & Case, a US law firm, where she closely followed the attacks on Wall Street by Eliot Spitzer, then the Attorney General of New York. Nor does she seem overly motivated by money, taking quite a pay cut to move into public service at the FSA five years ago.



So what next?

Expect Ms Cole to fight the corner of her staff as the regulatory carve-up begins. She'll need to: the FSA went on a recruitment drive during the financial crisis, snapping up legal eagles who attract some sniping for unusually high pay packets for the public sector.

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