Cheap bobby wanted for financial beat

The job of FSA chairman, the City's top fiscal copper, is up for grabs. But who would want it..?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010
Press reports suggest that messrs Brown and Darling, whose appointment it is, are mulling over a shortlist of three candidates. But we have to say that it looks like a pretty raw deal all round. The current occupant of what has become one of the hottest of the UK’s hot seats, Sir Callum McCarthy, will leave in September. As well as the industry criticism that every regulator must expect (and the noisy attentions of MPs out to make a headline), the credit crunch - and the awkward questions over the FSA’s role in it – have stoked the fires to ever more uncomfortable temperatures. Sir Callum has been up before the treasury select committee more often than just about anybody else bar the tea lady, hauled in for what has become a regular mauling.

And the rewards for absorbing all this flack? A mere £434,000 last year. Now that might not sound too shabby to most of us, but top people in the financial sector make more than over breakfast, with a day’s real trading still to come.  What’s more, this is a business where you are what you earn, and respect for those on such meagre stipends is generally in short supply.

Of course there are compensations – it’s an ‘important’ job in the old fashioned sense of the word, in that it’s one that really needs doing well. And it’s tremendously influential too, far more so than most cabinet positions or company chairmanships. Getting a good deal from the financial industry really matters to the good people of Blighty, even if they don’t always realise it.

But these are subtle virtues that appeal to the old fashioned sense of public service. A quality not often to be found in those with the requisite experience of today’s devil-take-the-hindmost international money markets. Here at MT we think that Gordon and Al will have to offer a bit more carrot to find someone ready to take all that stick…

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