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THE FSA'S SHORT HISTORY

The Financial Services Authority was born when former chancellor Gordon Brown overhauled the financial regulatory system following Labour&rsquo;s landslide election victory in 1997.<br /><br />Brown&rsquo;s revamp saw responsibility for banking supervision transferred to the FSA from the Bank of England, which had historically performed that function. The City watchdog later took on responsibility for regulating mortgages, as well as insurance companies.<br /><br />The regulator, currently chaired by Lord Adair Turner, was widely blamed for failing to spot the impending collapse of mortgage lender Northern Rock and has been the subject of increased speculation surrounding its future.<br /><br />Chancellor Alistair Darling set out proposals earlier this month to hand the regulator more powers to intervene in the strategy of financial institutions, as well as greater powers to impose fines.<br /><br />But shadow chancellor George Osborne said yesterday that he would abolish the regulator altogether if the Conservatives win the general election.<br />If the regulator is abolished in 2010, it will have lasted just 12 years.