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FCA’s lavish spend on £500-a-night luxury hotel for £15k away day

The FCA paid almost £15,000 for an away day and overnight stay for its board at a five-star hotel in Hertfordshire last year.

The regulator chose to hold its November board meeting at The Grove Hotel following an away day the previous day. 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 last June.

The total cost of the stay was £14,764, covering a one night stay for 19 board members and a two night stay for support staff. FCA staff arrived on 5 November to set up the away day and take board minutes for the meeting held on 7 November. 

It is unclear why the board meeting was not held at the FCA’s Canary Wharf offices. 

A spokeswoman for the FCA says: “Board away days are standard practice. The FCA seeks to ensure the cost of any external events offers value for money.”

Chadney Bulgin mortgage partner Jonathan Clark says: “This is some kind of away day. Hopefully the meeting was used to discuss freezing or even reducing FCA fees for the adviser community and therefore representing good value, but somehow I doubt it.”


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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Derek Bradley ceo Panacea Adviser 15th January 2014 at 9:57 am

    Now you know why they have no money to refund the £118m group 13 fee overcharge.

    “Board away days are standard practice. The FCA seeks to ensure the cost of any external events offers value for money.”

    Yes but value to who?

    FCA staff, according to their staff handbook have a limit of £150 per night accommodation expenses in the UK. I think even including fine dining this amount has been simply blown away.

    Makes you feel so good to know that regulatory fees are spent with such consideration (sorry i meant abandon).

  2. Here we go again fingers in the pie. When will our so called government stamp down on these unaccountable quangos. It is an absolute disgrace for them to spend our money on away days when they already have an office where a board meeting can be held. Good value for money whose money

  3. NO doubt the same people who sprayed money around and the FSA were responsible for this.

    Come on Mr Wheatley – you have talked the talk – now walk the walk. You have told us things would change – so how about it.

    I live near this hotel. It is by far and away the most expensive for miles around. It would seem that it was purely chosen on price (as the most expensive) and maybe because it also has a golf course. Might I suggest that next time (if you must have meetings away) you look (for example) at Sopwell House (half the price).

  4. Oh dear where does one start ?

    No; lost for words (well ones that would get past the moderator anyway !!)

  5. A jolly for the Old Eatonians then, what a disgrace.

  6. Not only do they break their own rules on spend…..not only do they refuse to refund misakenly gotten gains ( which should be returned to the rightful owners )…… BUT how would they explain this kind of lavish, unnecessary spendthrift lifestyle to those members of the public who (a) could never afford a £500 a night hotel and (b) more importantly, who can’t afford to pay a professional level of fees for professional advice????

    Mr Wheatley, if you ever venture to read comments like this, have the conviction to be accountable and be brave enough to come out publicly and explain via newpaper ad or TV, to the public at large, exactly HOW you justify this…..

  7. What was that bunch of useless overpaid surpluses who are only in their position because they couldn’t get a proper job doing at a five-star hotel, when they should have been practising short passing and shooting on goal?

    I hope they didn’t disturb the contemplations of our fine regulators.

  8. This is annoying and an example of just not caring what others may think. Never mind what our community might say, in these days when everybody is cutting back, this is shows a flagrant disregard for peoples’ sensitivities. I don’t disagree with the principle of an away day, just wish I could afford it, but there had to be cheaper, value for money options.

  9. Crooks! What a country! Legalised thievery.

    Find me a political party who will scrap all of these unaccountable corrupt quangos and the will have my vote. Until then I’m not voting for any party that continues to support this sham!

    What is wrong with a Premier Inn/Travelodge/Ibis etc? When you are spending OPM those are the only accommodation you should be staying in! I work my kahunas off to pay fees for this when anybody else wouldn’t dream of spending that sort of money on a business jolly.(unles. you are stupid or someone else is paying).

  10. Less than 12 months in power……
    1) Overcharging our fees and refusing to pay it back
    2) Shortage of advice after RDR review
    3) Wasting money on days away
    4) Overbearing regulation and red tape not less regulation
    5) The expectation of unquestioning obedience

    “They don’t know that facts and I don’t think it would have mattered in the slightest if they had”

    Whatever next…..

    Whatever next

  11. Disgraceful!

    How dare they!

    These greedy, arrogant, overpaid, unnacountable people, spending other peoples mony with no control or constraint. It really, really makes you blood boil!

    As others have said, with a perfectly adequate board room at Regulation Towers, the explanation –

    “Board away days are standard practice. The FCA seeks to ensure the cost of any external events offers value for money.”

    is totally specious and unacceplable.

    Wake up FCA – you need the trust and support of the industry and conduct like this will NOT earn it.

  12. My very great friend in Rome 17th January 2014 at 7:13 pm

    On just what basis can £15,000 on a single away-day and night be justified as value for money? Value for money my backside. And the FCA doesn’t have to justify it, not to anyone but itself ~ it’s just “standard practice”. Standard practice is for the regulator to spend however much it wants on whatever it wants, just like the FSA before it. So much for the FCA being “a very different animal from its predecessor”.

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