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FCA to spend £60m fitting out new offices

Move to Stratford to cost regulator £60m in fit out costs

FCA-Building-Blue-Sky-700x450.jpg
The FCA’s offices in Canary Wharf

The FCA is to spend £60m fitting out its new offices in Stratford.

Board minutes released by the regulator say the FCA plans to start moving to its new offices in East London in May 2018 and out of its current Canary Wharf premises.

The FCA is budgeting £60m “in respect of fit-out costs for the new Stratford office that is expected to be funded externally, the costs of which will be recovered against the rent free period.”

The project is being run in three strands: the building, technology and human resources/people policies, while security was also being discussed by the board.

The FCA reported that “‘move makers’ had been successfully mobilised from across the organisation to act as conduits between the project team and all staff and there was a strong emphasis on listening to staff views.”

The regulator first confirmed the move to the Stratford International Quarter development next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2014, securing a 20-year lease on the 430,000 square foot site.

At the time the move was announced, the regulator was spending around £30m on accommodation and office services costs across its Canary Wharf and Edinburgh bases.

The FCA has around 3,700 staff, with the board minutes showing that the regulator had taken on an additional 25 full time equivalent staff as “EU withdrawal resources”.

The board minutes also say that Boardroom Review Ltd, the company that was hired to evaluate the performance of the FCA board in 2015, would be invited to do so again this year and publish their report.

“Guidance” vs “advice”

The board minutes show that, in its monthly report, the FCA Consumer Panel – a statutory group that advises the FCA – had “expressed concerns about the distinction between ‘advice’ and ‘guidance’ in the context of the Financial Advice Market Review.”

The FAMR working group recommended in April that the terms “advice” and “guidance” should not be replaced because there were no better alternatives, but the terms should come with an explanation.

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Comments

There are 23 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. That’s only £16,000 per person! That should buy a few pot plants…
    After the “rent free period” there is no mention of what the accommodation and service costs will be?

  2. Refit? For what purpose?

  3. The FCA reported that “‘move makers’ had been successfully mobilised from across the organisation to act as conduits between the project team and all staff and there was a strong emphasis on listening to staff views.”

    Sounds like something Sir Humphrey off Yes Minister would say.

  4. Glen Stephenson 12th May 2017 at 3:39 pm

    In this ongoing push for transparency, the FCA should publish every item this £60 million is spent on.

  5. Dominic Thomas 12th May 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I’m very tempted to ask if its “value for money”… but then spending other people’s money has always been a very easy thing to do and a hard habit to break. #culture

  6. So the FCA is spending £140/sq ft – we undertook a similar exercise 18 months ago and spent £40/ sq ft – for a high quality job.
    Zero accountability for cost control as ever at the FCA.

  7. Sean
    It sounds more like b….. s..t to me!

  8. Re BC, brilliant and staggering observation equivalent £16000 per person…********!!!
    Not sure of the exact numbers but the FCA costs have risen over £600 MILLION of OUR POUNDS in the past 7 years.

  9. 20 Year lease? isn’t that wishful thinking?

    The cynic in me says that if it is 60million budgeted, that means twice or three times that figure will be the end spend.

    • Sally Anderson 13th May 2017 at 8:37 pm

      That sort of spend is borderline criminal.No privately owned business would contemplate such costs.

      Seems to me that we need to find another Jack Bogle to run the show efficiently at minimal cost.
      Given that the ultimate founder of such largesse is the purchaser of financial products it’s another nail in the coffin in the vain attempt to get people to save/invest more. Strengthens the argument for finding and using a broad range of non financial investments like rare artefacts,books,vintage signs,restorable historic rare items .Have personally be so doing for 20 years – fun and very profitable overall.

  10. FCA should move North, Greenland would be a good idea. MP’s ~Expenses,FCA logo. FCA refit, Brussels, propert flips, hotel rooms, etc,etc. No wonder people hav eno trust in MP’s!!

  11. Do they have no shame? Logos, flowers, art, parties – now this.

  12. Who would give the regulator a 60 year lease when they keep phoenexing. Oh I suddenly remembered they don’t do they, they just change their name and keep the same company number, rather like one of our local schools which repeatedly changes it’s name, gets ALL the money for new buildings etc and yet the results are nothing like as good as the unliked by certain groups local Grammar School which gets less funding and has buildings falling down round it’s ears and yet gets better results as it focuses on the teaching and not the facade.
    The FCA should have been “regional officed” out from London to enable home working, regional hubs, web conferencing and NOT empire building.

  13. Sorry, I said a 60 year lease, when it is a 20 year lease, but the same applies there, does anyone think their name will last 5 more years let alone 20 based on previous experience?

  14. Rory Percival 13th May 2017 at 1:16 pm

    The FCA are moving out of Canary Wharf to cheaper offices in Stratford and people still complain …

    • Yet their budget keeps rising.

    • I agree, but why Stratford (London)……… still London prices, London wages……
      Its pure vanity…. like the supermodel draped in a fur coat… exuding beauty, but so immorally ugly on the inside….

    • The complaints are not at moving out of Canary Wharf. It is the exorbitant initial cost to fit out the new premises. £60 million is a ridiculous figure for an office re-fit. That is what people are rightly complaining about. As J said above the end figure may well be higher than this. Our regulator has a habit of grossly “underestimating costs” when it comes to projects of all descriptions.

  15. Julian Stevens 13th May 2017 at 1:38 pm

    To be fair, the article does state that the FCA expects the cost of this refit to be recovered by not having to pay rent for an unspecified period on these new offices. That said, the money will have to be found for the work to be undertaken before the FCA moves in and how on earth is it possible to spend £60m on refitting an office that’s already there? In what kind of condition are these new offices? And, once the FCA has moved out from its present accommodation, what will become of all the fixtures and fittings it will be leaving behind, on which untold millions have already been spent? Will they be scrapped or left behind for the next tenants? Has there been any external oversight or approval of this planned expenditure?

    Back in 2012, Hector Sants was quoted as saying that the cost of phoenixing the FSA into the FCA (in the same building) had been estimated at £50m, though no breakdown of or justification for that enormous figure was ever published. And nor was any attempt made by APFA to challenge it (in accordance with its claimed raison d’etre of “holding the regulator to account”). Was the final amount actually spent more or less than £50m? And does APFA intend to challenge the FCA on this latest proposed £60m spending spree? If it does, I expect the response will almost certainly be a robust rebuttal (Mind your own business and get lost), though it would be nice to know it had at least made the effort and that the FCA had refused even to discuss the matter, whereupon APFA should then seek to refer it to some other body.
    The trouble is that there IS no other body and APFA, as far as I’m aware, has never made any effort towards the creation of one or for the necessary powers to be granted to the TSC.

    It would be unreasonable to expect APFA to succeed in all its endeavours but it would at least inspire a bit of confidence if it could be seen to be TRYING to challenge the FCA on matters such as this.

  16. I support the move out of (expensive) Canary Wharf …
    My first question;

    Why London ? the only answer I can come up with is vanity !

    It is certainly not for commercial reasons

    The FCA do not need to be based in London…..

    • Really? The financial regulator shouldn’t be based in the financial capital? You realise they regulate many thousands of firms, not just IFA’s – where are all the investment banks, brokerages, trading floors, reinsurers, clearing houses? London.

  17. Trevor Harrington 15th May 2017 at 9:54 am

    Whining and moaning as above has no effect whatsoever …
    WE know that from the last 29 years of successive regulators …

    If we all paid our fees through one Trade Body … and that Trade Body withheld those fees in circumstances such as this … you would be surprised how attentive to our objections the Regulator would become.

    I suggested this many years ago at the formation meeting of Gill Cardy’s IFA Centre … but there was no nobody else with the guts for it …

    Therefore … we are still where we are ….

    • The share of the FCA’s total budget met by the FA sector is pretty small, so trying to pay our levies via a central clearing house with the power to withhold passing them on wouldn’t cause it massive problems. In any event, to ensure it could still pick off non-payers one by one, the FCA would never sanction any sort of central clearing house. It would just ignore it.

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