The FCA has defended spending almost £100,000 on five board away days over the past five years, including the decision to hold its November meeting at a five-star luxury hotel.
At the FCA’s annual public meeting in London today, the board was questioned about its away day spend over the last five years, and delegates raised particular concerns about the FCA holding away days at The Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire. The hotel has hosted the England football team, musicians and was the venue for the Bilderberg Group meeting of the world’s top political and business leaders in June 2013.
FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones said: “We have used The Grove hotel for the past two years because in November there are not many people using it and we get a significant discount. I absolutely believe in the value of taking the board out of the office for two days. You can have more discursive discussions than in the office, as I’m sure many of the businesses we regulate will agree.
“I’m completely confident that the expenditure incurred was of a workman like nature.”
A freedom of information request by Money Marketing revealed in February that the regulator spent £97,975 between 2009 and 2013 on annual two-day meetings at off-site locations for its board.
The FCA spent £17,123 on holding its November board meeting at The Grove.