Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee’s capital markets panel, announced yesterday that he plans to resign from Congress “no later than” Feb. 6 to become president and chief executive officer of the Managed Funds Association, which represents the $1.8 trillion hedge fund industry.

Baker told a Baton Rouge radio station that he was approached by the association because of his financial background. He has served for years as a senior member on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees hedge funds.

Rumors of his planned departure spread after he complied with new ethics rules by disclosing to the House Ethics Committee earlier this month that he was negotiating for a job at the trade group.

Baker was elected to Congress in 1986 and has served for 11 terms, including eight years as chairman of the House subcommittee on capital markets, insurance, and government-sponsored enterprises. He follows a growing number of Republicans who have announced they plan to leave Congress to pursue careers in the private sector, among them Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who resigned in December.

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