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FSA staff have been claiming over £400 a night in expenses for hotel accommodation

28 Jul 2009

Nicole Blackmore of Money Marketing reported this week that according to FSA director expense claims, obtained by Money Marketing through a Freedom of Information request, chairman Adair Turner claimed £812 for two nights at a hotel in February, with a hotel expenditure of £5,889 between November 2008 and March 2009.

Chief executive Hector Sants claimed £11,245 in transport costs over the last three financial years, for the occasions when his full-time driver was unavailable.

Turner spent an average of £265 per night on hotel accommodation, while chief executive Sants’ average bill was £225 per night.

Managing director Jon Pain claimed £545 for a two-night hotel stay and other claims included 70p for a newspaper. Managing director Sally Dewar claimed £358 for one night’s hotel stay.

The total expenses claimed by FSA directors over the past three financial years is just short of £110,000. The FSA says it does not keep a record of rejected claims.

The FSA says: “Many hotel costs are for international speaking engagements where it is necessary to stay in the same place as the conference is being held, which is often in capital cities where demand is high and availability often limited. We aim to get the best value from the range of options available.

"We are transparent about the costs of running the FSA and we publish summaries of our executives' expenses on our website. Most expenses are for travel and accommodation costs incurred in carrying out FSA business, especially speaking engagements, international meetings and hosting our international counterparts."

Highclere Financial Service partner Alan Lakey says: “Am I surprised? Of course I’m not. But I am angry that my money is being used in this way.”

All this information comes on top of FSA chairman Adair Turner saying that FSA fee increases are a one-off and the industry will not face further rises for the supervisory enhancement program in the future. Speaking at the FSA's annual public meeting, Turner said: "The Supervisory Enhancement Program involves investment, which means higher cost, which means higher fees. The executive and the Board of the FSA are very focused on ensuring that, after a one off increase in costs to achieve this investment, the industry will not face relentless rises in future. But we cannot avoid the one off increase: in the past, in relation to our highest impact firms, we were trying to do supervision on the cheap."

I do not think that IFAs or indeed Product Providers believe that supervision is “on the cheap”. Regulation and budgetary accountability and responsibility are not easy bedfellows.

Regarding the continued escalation of regulatory costs and expense it will not be too long before justification  for these rises take inspiration from the lyrics from the Jackson 5 hit of 1978 - 

Don't blame it on the sunshine
Don't blame it on the moonlight
Don't blame it on the good times
Blame it on the boogie

That nasty boogie bugs me
Like somebody has drugged me………..

What do you think?

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