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FSA’S SANTS MAKES LAST STAND FOR REGULATOR

THERE’S nothing like going out fighting, is there? Yesterday marked the publication of FSA chief executive Hector Sants’ (right) last annual report at the helm of the regulator, which is under siege from politicians currently mulling whether or not it will have a future.

Sants has never exactly made a secret of his feelings towards the Conservatives’ long-held plans to hand over the supervision of banking risk to the Bank of England, unfailingly sticking up for the current system of integrated risk assessment. And yesterday, Hants stepped up to the plate one more time to defend his organisation.

“I believe the FSA is now a completely different regulator both in respect of its philosophy and its ability to deliver that philosophy,” he insisted in the closing remarks of his statement. “It has proved to be an organisation capable of learning and adapting to an uncertain world, demonstrating the characteristics that are essential to a successful regulator…”

One thing’s for sure: with chancellor George Osborne sharpening up his knife to follow up on that pledge – and even possibly scrap the FSA entirely – later this month, it’ll certainly need them.

SCAM ARTIST
It appears it’s not only the odd short seller looking to profit from the downfall of BP – scam artists are at it, too.

Fund manager Bronte Capital posted a hilarious Nigerian effort on its blog earlier this week, purporting to be from one “Dudley Caruthers Esq” (these spammers have clearly upped their game).

Said “barrister” claims to be the private solicitor of beleaguered BP chief Tony Hayward, whose wealth he claims is “at great risk of being wrongfully confiscated by US authorities acting extra-territorially under special powers authorised by the US government and with the secret consent of a supine UK political and legal establishment”. (Gee, we knew President Obama wasn’t exactly Hayward’s best friend, but isn’t that going a little far?)

On offer are £80m of stock options currently belonging to Hayward, apparently – though in order to see the dosh, you’ve first got to stump up a £20m “advisory fee”…

MASTER OF SPIN
Gordon Brown’s former spokesman Simon Lewis (top right) received a stern ticking-off yesterday for daring to forecast that England would be knocked out of the World Cup in the last 16.

Lewis made the prediction at an Editorial Intelligence breakfast meeting where he spoke, among other things, about the fragility of the reputations of politicians and businessmen like BP’s Tony Hayward.

One member of the audience was upset that Lewis, now a press spokesman of UK Trade and Industry, had not been more patriotic, prompting embarrassed mumblings from Lewis claiming that, of course, English football deserves a World Cup triumph in South Africa.

Perhaps one of the UK’s foremost spinmeisters – his other jobs have included Clarence House and looking after former Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin – was a bit distracted. He was heading off last night to Cambridge to speak at a University debate in favour of the proposal: “Spin is essential to a healthy democracy.” A daunting task indeed.

CHARITY CASE
Amid the furore over highly-paid City executives, one man has been keeping awfully quiet about his own mammoth pay deal.

Nigel Savage is the chief executive of the College of Law – and, despite the fact that the organisation is a UK-registered charity, legal blog RollOnFriday has unearthed documents showing that he paid himself a fat £440,000 last year. That, by the way, is more than the vice chancellor of any university in the UK, twice as much as the boss of Cancer Research and four times as much as the chief executive of Oxfam. Time for a rethink?

CLIMBING MOUNTAINS
A plea from Richard Jeffrey, the chief investment officer at Cazenove Capital Management, who is taking part in a gruelling one-day 22 mile walk in the Cairngorms at the end of July along with Phoenix Equity Partners managing partner Sandy Muirhead and ex-Standard Life chief investment officer John Thomson.

Jeffrey is raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, his son having developed the aggressive cancer osteosarcoma two years ago. Visit www.justgiving.com/cairngorm-challenge to support them.