Traders not wanted at the FSA

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The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is hiring 218 people for its supervisory team but, according to the Financial Times, it has little interest in hearing from ex-traders. Instead, what it wants are risk managers, product controllers and compliance officers.

On behalf of disenfranchised traders everywhere, we thought it right to investigate why the FSA is avoiding them. Surely, after all, a former trader with inside knowledge of what went wrong is just what the FSA needs for its supervisory team?

The regulator declined to comment. But Chris Rexworthy, a former member of the FSA's senior management team and now a director at IMS Consulting, agrees that ex-traders have something to offer: "There's always an argument that you need to have been in the business to spot the risks and find the wrongdoing."

He adds: "You'd have thought it would be a good thing for some of the supervisory staff to have a trading background."

Where are ex-traders going wrong then? Rexworthy thinks it might be because they tend to be too engrossed in trading technicalities. A director at one recruitment firm which works for the FSA confirms this to be true: "Unless they've worked across multiple desks, traders often have a narrow focus on one product. What the FSA needs is a broad understanding of banks' whole organisation.

"People from risk, compliance, or product control backgrounds are more likely to have this," the anonymous director adds.