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FSA TCF team sent from Scotland to London

The FSA paid travel and accommodation costs to send two supervisors from Scotland on a TCF visit to a firm located just an hour’s tube journey from Canary Wharf.

The principal of the firm, who does not want to be named, says: “The FSA sent two officers to our office from Scotland and, as well as travel costs, these guys stayed at a hotel overnight, which probably sent the cost soaring.

“For a fairly routine visit, why did the FSA not use two officers from Canary Wharf? If this example is repeated for many other visits in London and the home counties, it is no wonder the FSA’s costs are soaring.”

Last week, FSA managing director Jon Pain warned that the regulator will need to continue to increase its staff budget to implement its new intensive supervision approach and provide training to supervisors.

The regulator refused to comment on how often Scotland-based supervisors are sent to firms in and around London.

A spokeswoman says: “When we send supervisors out, it is a case of deploying people with the best skills and expertise to conduct that visit. To be able to properly assess firms, we need to send a suitably qualified supervisor.

“Our visits are conducted regionally, so a supervisory team will go to a region and see a number of firms in that area during the one trip.”

Philip J Milton and Company managing director Philip Milton says: “This does not demonstrate any sensitivity at the current time when a lot of people are suffering. The FSA is simply saying, we are not suffering and we are going to continue to put our costs up. I do not think that is the right approach.”

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Comments

There are 33 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. If it wasnt so serious it would be laughable. I often watch Yes Minister and this sounds like a scene from that where the Minister is constantly fighting against the Civil Service in an attempt to cut costs and is met with indifference.

  2. This is outrageous.We have to justify every penny we charge clients and the fsa must now justify the way in which they use the exorbitant fees we are forced to pay.The fsa should be funded through the tax systen. That way accountability would be a necessity. The taxpayers would then be able to judge cost/benefit. The regulator acts like some third world dictator, spending money like it is going out of fashion, while the rest of us struggle to continue to fund thetr insatiable appetite.

  3. Those IFAs who attended a recent FSA roadshow in Plymouth (note to FSA, that’s in Devon) were surprised to note that the six or seven FSA staff present were all from the FSAs Edinburgh (that’s in Scotland) office.

    Amongst it’s it’s other organisational and functional inadequacies and confusions, we can now clearly include a lack of geographical awareness as well as a disregard for costs.

  4. Why am I not suprised, probably bought the wives along for a spot of shopping, after all it’s not costing them anything

  5. John O'Hearne 27th May 2010 at 9:36 am

    There should be a full costings review at the FSA and they should be made to work within budget like the rest of the country. This is disgraceful, yet not surprising!

  6. why should we be surprised same shambles again i wonder if the FSA had a regulator like them if it should occour again and again .FINANCIAL CRIME is right under their noses by them at least the MCCB was not just a bunch of Cowboys riding over us cheering and Back Slapping themselves and laughing at the idea of themselves being accountable to no one a Disaster a day is the FSA way

  7. Trouble is we all sit back, have a moan and do nothing. i suggest as many of you who feel as strongly as i do about this should write to the director of the FSA and copy in your local MP and demand that something is done to stop this blind madness that is happening at the FSA.

    The UK is seriously tightening its belt and yet these people spend money like it is worthless. Maybe if they spent it on controling the banks and fraud, and not “supervising” IFA’s who have the lowest complaints ratio accross any industry, they might ACTUALLY achieve something worthwhile with OUR tax money.

  8. Gerald Potter 27th May 2010 at 9:41 am

    I am sure there must be good reason for this apparent senseless waste of our money. After all, the FSA are the guardians of the flame of moral rectitude for our industry and as such they ensure that our fees are spent wisely.

    The lunatics have certainly taken over the asylum – but we probably knew that already!

  9. Apalling but, unsurprisingly typical and I’m afraid repetitive!

  10. Parasites, go and find a real job.

  11. Interesting comment from the FSA spokeswoman: “…a supervisory team will go to a region and see a number of firms in that area during the one trip.” So, they don’t just spend the odd night incurring hotel bills, they have extended periods doing so.
    As for the refusal to comment on how often supervisors travel almost the length of the country, what about freedom of information?

  12. Alasdair Sampson 27th May 2010 at 9:51 am

    I spent a lovely day on Tuesday defending an IFA client from Edinburgh being grilled by a 3-strong FSA team from London who were staying 2 nights in a very avante-garde 4* hotel not a stone’s throw from FSA’s Edinburgh office. How does that work?

    Clearly austerity only goes so far, chaps!

    Separately from the cost issue, any IFA who is being investigated by the FSA should note that attack is the best form of defence. If you know your stuff and have a lawyer like me who knows the FSA Rules and FSMA better than the FSA team does you can take these people on.

    They don’t know the law (this team tried to tell me that English criminal law applied in Scotland) they ask questions they shouldn’t, questions which are irrelevant.

    But the one I like best is when they say “This isn’t a trick question”.

    That’ll be the one that they try to hang you on later when the transcript of the interview is scoured for quote-bites for their report to the RDC.

    Any IFA who is being investigated by the FSA and who tries to handle this him/herself will be conned and deceived by the FSA into all sorts of stuff eg voluntarily varying thieir permission before the investigation gets under way, issuing contact letters to their client which almost invite complaints to the FOS (which cannot be defended and probably will not be covered by your PI cover) and if you attend the interview yourself you are simple prey.

    Contact me 01560 322191

  13. Look on a bright side. It may be that the guys from Scotland are the only ones who understand what they are doing! It is the heart of the FS sector. (Edinburgh)

  14. The FSA sent experts from Scotland (no surprise there as a lot of the industry is based in Scotland). However, the article suggests it would have been better if a Glasgow IFA was sent some wet behind the ears graduate from Orpington based at an ivory tower in a remote part of a city in the bottom right corner of the country.

    If anything this shows the resourcing model is broken, the FSA should have offices all over the country so that they can recruit staff with experience and keep on top of issues emerging locally. They totally missed out on Presbyterian Mutual (unauthorised bank in Northern Ireland) and KF concept (unauthorised pyramid selling in South Wales). Had they had people on the ground, with the expertise, neither would have happened.

    And take it from me, the last thing you want to do on a boring business trip to London is overpriced shopping.

  15. I run my own business if I need or want to go see a client, whilst teh travelling expenses may well be tax deductable, I think seriously about the fact that ultimately it reduces my net profit and hecne results in less money in my own pocket.
    It is the decision of the FSA staff member and the FSA itself to locate the hubs in the moist expensive parts of both England and Scotland and hence any travelling expenses morally should come from their own pockets.

    Just to emphsise the FSAs lack of geographical and technical ability. One has to question why meetings cannot with FSA supervisors cannot be carried out remotely using web cams and by providing access to password protected sections of an IFAs own back offics systems. We can do both easily, they do not need to phusically visit us, nor vice versa and yet this years TCF workshop followed by their face to face TCF assessment (last years were of little benefit other than to confirm what I was doing was good practice and acceptable to them) involved more than 3 hours travelling for each meeting i.e. whole days written off work at a time and this years for which I have had a second email reminder (you are coming to this voluntary workshop aren’t you or else seems to be the theme), is more than 4 hours diving time for the day when my usual travelling day is to leave home, walk, run kayak or swim in the sea, come back home and start work….
    Why should I have to join their rat rac, I accept I earn less than them by not working in the city and playing their game only to be forced to become a clone like them or stop helping my friends (clients).
    This madness has got to stop….

  16. I am not surprised at this. The FSA are assessing firms in Cardiff throughout May and June and are staying in St Davids Hotel the most expensive in the area. But they all get a sea view and balcony for our money. I appreciate that they are staying away from home and need to be comfortable but nearby there is an excellent choice of Premiere and Future Inns at less than half the cost. In fact I recently stayed at the Furture and the room was excellent (but no sea view and balcony). At least we know our fees are being put to good use.

  17. If we are tasked in TCF why it is not logical that the same should apply FSA, after all we are the ones that pay!!

  18. Exasperated me 27th May 2010 at 9:59 am

    The anger and frustration is tangible, but is it warranted? There is a historic connection with Scotland because that was where the FIMBRA office was and they used to do the same thing but did anybody moan about that?

    If you think about it you would be better off writing new business than venting your spleens on here, but if you really do feel better after a little moan perhaps you should be asking why there is such a large London office full of filing cabinets, why there isn’t a Cardiff office, or a Manchester one, or why the whole thing isn’t moved to Milton Keynes or anywhere cheaper than Canary Towers, or should that be CHEEPer ?

    Write to your MP, write to the EU, or write new business while you still can because the Park Row fiasco is a portent of things to come.

  19. Brokers-Dont just moan on this web site about the FSA-get on to google and get your local MP s email.Then tell your MP all about the FSA andf how they should be cut back and monitored.
    Its up to all of us .so lets do it today

  20. I was a high ranking manager in a national firm, we dropped from holiday inn standard hotels to travel lodges and we actually found them better, even the managers next down from director/shareholders in the firm stayed in them too. They often have meeting rooms above the diners which are very basic and you have to take your own kit, but were very cheap.
    Why the FSA think they are better than large billions turnover industry I do not know, their premises and expenses are probably the main cause of their superiority.
    No private firm is going to match or to reach the standards of staff who are able to operate this way, how will any small budget office and equipment compare to these unaffordable for most business standards??
    The FSA should have a business and recruitment manager in charge of the whole show with the remit of delivering a good service at the lowest cost possible, experts should be below this person.
    How has this been allowed to happen?

  21. I agree with all of the above but it is only us within the industry that read these comments and I m sure the FSA dont!

    That means now is the time to make new MPs aware of this collosal mess. Make an appointment at their surgery and ensure they are aware of what is happening to our industry.

  22. Victoria Mitchell 27th May 2010 at 11:36 am

    The fsa should be funded through the tax systen. That way accountability would be a necessity. The taxpayers would then be able to judge cost/benefit.
    This (second post down) made me laugh out loud! Since when are taxpayers allowed to judge anything on where their money goes!? I wish!

  23. “..to be able to properly assess firms, we need to send a suitably qualified supervisor…”

    So they have no suitably qualified staff at Canary Wharf – thought so.

  24. Perhaps if these people had to earn their money they would know what value means. Its a shame they dont have “Disclosure”and Reason Why Letters to follow their every move, like they imposed on IFAs. They should be renamed as the “Blisters” because “They only come up after the work has been done !!!”

  25. Pissed Off IFA 27th May 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Why do you think I call myself POI?
    The FSA did the same thing when they came to see us

  26. Richard Costain 27th May 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Thsi is the first time that I’ve posted anonymously but as an ex-Park Row adviser being deprived the ability to earn a living, I cannot afford to upset FSA whilst my application is pending.

    Note:

    1 – the FSA do read these blogs
    2 – contacting your MP is a waste of time – believe me, a number of us Park Row guys have tried and they’re not interested.

    It is right that we should all stand together as an industry and make this issue with the FSA a national one, not just an industry one. The problem is that the FSA is judge, jury and executioner – they simply have too much power at the moment and it is understandable that IFA’s do not want to challenge them.

    If my authorisation is not successful, or if I decide to leave the industry (which is looking more and more attractive at the moment) I will be lobbying very hard for this.

    PS – Trica Campbell – thanks for your positive support on previous blogs – much appreciated.

  27. John Morrison 27th May 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I swear that Money Marketing only print stories like this to wind you lot up!

  28. we have had FSA supervisory visit and recent road show in south west – at least most of the staff were from scotland. As has already been stated the only competent people are therefore based north of the border and not in Canary Wharf.

  29. Of course the FSA had to pay for the travel and accommodation costs to send two supervisors from Scotland on a TCF visit to a firm located near Canary Wharf.The FSA supervisors who worked at Canary Wharf were on a TCF visit to Scotland at the same time.

    Its only our money after all.

  30. I presume that they travelled by the gravy train.

  31. My income has fallen due to the recession industry in my region is also struggling, whilst I see waste in all buracratic areas.

    They have to remember one thing once we are gone we are gone and then it will their turn to pack up and go.

  32. I agree with Derek Pearce.

    A couple of months ago, I wrote to my MP about the FSA exceeding its own expense guidelines for the cost of hotel accommodation and have it on the very highest authority that the FSA is not long for this world.

    I quote – “I believe that the FSA has become too far removed from the businesses it is supposed to regulate and this is one of the reasons a Conservative government would abolish it.”

    I suggest that others do the same and get writing!

  33. Re Anon at 2.08. That was a couple of months ago – I think that in order to appease the lib dems, the conservatives have backtracked and the fsa may be here to stay. A week is a long time in politics as they say.

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