£40,000 a year of other people’s money spent on flowers !!
One of the biggest criticisms of the former city watchdog the Financial Services Authority (FSA), was that they were simply out of touch and unaware of the reality facing consumers and the various people, bodies and companies they regulated. Its former head Hector Sants was accused by the Commons Treasury Committee of being ‘asleep at the wheel’ in the run up to the banking crisis – but that didn’t stop him being awarded a Knighthood !!
The regulator is funded by a compulsory levy which is paid by the people they regulate. This levy isn’t just paid by big global corporations but is also paid by individual advisers. Many of these small businesses have struggled to keep going in the face of changing regulation and the ever increasing demand for information from the regulator.
Just like any employer the FSA had the responsibility of ensuring that its staff worked in safe and comfortable surroundings. However it is hard to understand why it felt it was perfectly acceptable in the last 5 years to spend almost £200,000 of this levy on flowers for their offices. The financial services trade paper ‘Money Marketing’ obtained this information under a freedom of information request.
Unfortunately the FSA’s successor the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is carrying on with this unnecessary expenditure. Apparently a spokesperson for the FCA said the flowers contract represented ‘value for money’. They still don’t get it !!