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FCA chair set to rack up record expenses bill

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FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones is on track to file the largest expenses bill in the history of the regulator, figures have revealed.

In figures published today, the FCA showed that Griffith-Jones has racked up a mammoth £29,738.69 in expenses after just three quarters of the year.

Griffith-Jones’ total for the nine months starting April 2015 is exceeded only by former chief executive Martin Wheatley’s bill for all of 2014/15, which saw the ex-boss claim £33,017.59 for a full twelve months.

This means that if Griffith-Jones files more than £3,279 in expenses for the three months to March 2016, he will reach the largest annual expense bill recorded by the FCA since its launch in 2013.

In the eleven quarters since the regulator’s launch, Griffith-Jones has claimed an average of £7,040.44 for each three-month period.

The chairman’s bill is led by costs for foreign travel, which totals £25,000 for the year-to-date.

By contrast, acting chief executive Tracey McDermott, who took over following Wheatley’s departure last Summer, has recorded just £5,539 in expenses claims for the year-to-date.

McDermott’s bill is exceeded by that of FCA strategy and competition director Chris Woolard, who joined the regulator’s board in the aftermath of Wheatley’s exit. Woolard has claimed £7,712, almost exclusively in the final three months of 2015.

Wheatley also filed £4,638.91 in expenses between April 2015, and his departure in mid-July.

Wheatley’s exit was confirmed on 17 July, by which point the outgoing boss had already claimed £252.36 in expenses for the quarter.

An FCA spokeswoman says: “The FCA seeks to minimise the necessity of domestic and overseas travel. The FCA could not however fulfil its role as a financial regulator without regular meetings with other overseas regulators and visits to group head offices of the firms which it is responsible for in the UK.

“Furthermore, much of the financial rules which govern the United Kingdom are determined in committees which meet outside the UK and the attendance of FCA personnel at such meetings is essential if the FCA is to discharge its role effectively.”

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Comments

There are 15 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “______________________”

  2. Why is this even news? Newsflash everyone – Chairpersons and CEO’s of large organisations rack up expense bills while undertaking the duties often neccessary to their roles ! The key difference here is that we can see the figures if we wish!

    • That is true but what would be interesting is for was the cost of air /rail travel Was it first or business class. Hotel bills within the allowance of the average member of staff I understand the Hotel allowance was circa £125
      One has to bear in mind that MP now 1st class

    • I would say the same Darren, if it wasn’t my clients money paying for it ! irrespective of it being necessary to his role, tell me again what does he actually do ? ……..go have a look at his CV with KPMG and pay particular attention to HBOS and Co-op !!! a quick google search should suffice it wont take you very many minutes

  3. £25,000 foreign travel !
    Is he in business class?
    I have to say, as one of the bill-payers for that, I don’t ever remember having sight of that expense claim for approval.

  4. Shangri-la has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly it is known as a mythical Himalayan utopia – a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan and only very slowly ageing in appearance.

    Readers may be interested to know that nothing has changed since 2010 at Canary Wharf. There is an FCA handbook on expenses limits that apply to all as did the one with the FSA.

    http://www.panaceaadviser.com/main/st3607.htm

    I think the time has come where those involved (and in this case ‘in-charge’) in the boom industry of “Regulation” show similar constraint and respect toward those who continue to fund what could be considered by many IFAs and Product Providers as an excessively lavish lifestyle at the expense of those it regulates.

  5. Darren

    Just because other CEO’s do it doesn’t make it right. As a shareholder I am very miffed when I see bloated expense accounts. Unfortunately the institutional investors & managers do the same, so they don’t complain about it.

    All these people must have very precious backsides and must be very delicate. I have just returned from a 12 hour non-stop flight. I travelled cattle class and slept like a baby for a good 8 hours. When in industry my staff and I always travelled cheapest class. If by car we normally travelled the night before if it was more than 250 miles and stayed in a Travel Lodge.

    All this expenses nonsense is just another gravy train and with foreign travel they collect air miles which they use for their personal holidays. That is something they should be taxed on.

  6. Sorry, if he has been travelling extensively and the costs include hotel bills, this is not unreasonable. Lets say there have been 50 trips abroad representing and defending your financial services from Brussels take over, say £25,000 has been used towards this, that works out at around £500 per trip. Even if it was only 25 times £1000 is not unreasonable, taking into account taxi, flight, hotel and other expenses. If I travel to London by train from Newport, stay in a hotel for two nights I can pay upwards of £400 and that’s before any entertaining expenses. This would be in a three star hotel out of central London.

    As for traveling first class, very unlikely but a valid question.

    Before we all go off on one, if you were going to a meeting and wanted to be in a position of equal standing, would you stay in a two star hotel out of town, or more likely book in where all the other delegates are staying? Are you the poor party to be looked down on or an equal.

    Whilst I know we are paying for these trips, I do feel sometimes we fly off the handle. He would have been traveling not just to Europe, but America, possibly even Hong Honk or further.

    As with everything reported without the full facts, which the media are good at not reporting, we cannot and should not judge.

  7. Where does one apply for a job at the gravy train?

  8. If he was going to Brussels he should have used Eurostar not the Gravy Train!

  9. We pay them by proxy – the public pick up the bill due to our necessarily inflated charges to cover the cost of our regulator. When it comes to “smoke and mirrors” on their cost to the industry and public they are past masters at generating justification of the value that they represent. Expense accounts are endemic and explanations can always provide rational justification of the need no matter how excessive the expense. Avoid the conflict and publish agreed expense allowances and then leave the Auditors to monitor with the remit to publish any overspend. Nobody expects people to live whilst paupers away from home – it is the excessive claims that rankle such as Sant’s trip from JFK to Central New York – yes – excessiove expenditure may have been happening for years. Although the name changes and some people change the culture might not have. If you are not accountable to Parliament for parlous policy decisions like RDR who the heck cares about expenses !

  10. Darren I do apologise for my reply to your comment. I use my mobile telephone and press the wrong key before I had the opportunity to cancel it had been posted. This is what I meant to say

    Darren is perfectly true you say. While the FCA is a private company by guarantee and is financed by its members. Unlike some executives from companies and PLCs they are answerable their shareholders.
    It could really interesting to see a breakdown in the mode of travel. When travelling by air is business class is by the national carrier on a budget airline. The FCA employees hand book has standard fixed allowance for hotel accommodation is circa £150.00 with additional allowances travelling in Europe or the US.
    MPs are only granted 2nd class rail fare returning to their constituencies. I understand if they want to travel first class they have to pay for it personally. Why can’t the same standards be set by the executives and directors of the FCA.

    Ingvar Kamprad owner of IKEA still travels the world to visit new IKEA stores. He flies economy class and encourages everyone stays in budget hotels
    He could certainly afford his private jet and stay in the most luxurious hotels but he chooses to lead by example. Maybe some executives in the UK who were employed by PLC or government departments should follow his example when spending shareholders or tax payers money

  11. He’s worth every penny.

  12. So much for the oversight of the NAO as to how the FCA spends the vast sums of money that it extorts from the industry every year. Just token window dressing.

  13. One would think he has on his plate rather more pressing home issues than all-expenses-paid overseas jollies trying to persuade regulators in other countries that the FCA isn’t really in such a mess as everyone here is saying.

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