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FSCS seeks PR firm for contract worth up to £540k

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has asked PR firms to pitch for a contract worth up to £540,000, Money Marketing can reveal.

The FSCS has put out to tender a PR contract which sets the costs at between £360,000 and £540,000. The contract will be for two years initially at a cost of £180,000 a year, with the option to extend this.

The organisation says most of the cost will fall on banks and building societies but advisers will be among the firms faced with picking up the remainder. 

The FSCS currently employs PR firm Hanover but refuses to disclose how much it is paid. The Hanover contract is up for renewal.

The successful agency will help the FSCS’s four-person in-house communications team with reputation management, campaigning, organising interviews and a wider awareness campaign.

An FSCS spokeswoman says: “The contract is for two years with a possible extension depending on performance. This is to support consumer awareness and help achieve our target by 2019.”

Jacksons Wealth Management managing director Pete Matthew says: “I don’t begrudge money going to the FSCS as long as we are kept in the loop and know the money is being put to good use.”

Plutus Wealth Management chartered financial planner Tom Dean says: “While the FSCS probably does not have the right skills in-house, the PR firm will make a nice profit.” 

In 2013 the FSCS spent £3m on an advertising campaign featuring BBC Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch. A £4m campaign in 2011, which included TV ads with animated characters, was scrapped after the FSCS acknowledged it had not achieved the desired impact.

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Comments

There are 20 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Remind me again, what is the purpose of the FSCS? I mistakenly thought it is supposed to sit in the background and pay out when a consumer suffers a loss as a result of fraud or company liquidation. Why would this involve promoting itself for any reason? No wonder 75% + of our regulatory fees are paid to them.

  2. The FSCS has already wasted adviser fees on pointless advertising that tells radio listeners that they exist and cover bank deposits.

    As always, were they a commercial organisation where directors remain in situ based on competence and financial probity, the profligate spending would be swiftly curtailed as would the career trajectory of the buffoons responsible.

  3. brian weatherley 21st August 2014 at 10:30 am

    Why have we not seen the establishment of a Govt. funded universal Public Information Service to cater for customer/consumer awareness campaigns?

    Almost certainly it would result in overall cost savings and would promote a level of standards not necessarily displayed by PR companies making good profits.

    So why not start a PIS on a limited basis with financial matters.

  4. Bring back Charlie the cat!!!!!

    He’ll do it for a basket of fish.

  5. I’m delighted to say that the lang cat will be very happy to provide PR services to FSCS for no more than £175k a year, thus saving advisers SIGNIFICANT SUMS.

    Our services will include:

    1. Walking round with an iPhone 6 glued to our faces when it comes out
    2. Drinks
    3. A really pretty communication strategy Prezi to show how innovative we are. No more boring Powerpoint!
    4. Drinks
    5. Quite a lot of technical services which are too difficult to explain.

    Discounts for cash.

    Deal? Ta.

    Love, the lang cat

  6. This is a complete waste of our money, but typical of an organisation like this. We discuss the role of the FSCS with every single client we meet as it is part of our disclosure documents, so why not leave it to the industry to ‘promote’ them and reduce our fees proportionately. What exactly are they trying to achieve as no amount of money thrown into pointless PR and advertising will ‘achieve their desired impact’ as the public are simply not bothered until they have to be.

  7. Question

    What do the four-person in-house communications team
    reputation management, campaigning, organising interviews and a wider awareness campaign. If you are in.Surely, these are the basic skills required for anybody that is a communication team.

    When it is not your money why should you care. Someone else is paying and as long as they get a salary the benefits I am alright Jack

  8. Only £540,000 over 2 years! Don’t they realise how much they will get for that, about 1 part time office junior, (probably with an ancient Nokia Mark) why not really push the boat out and go for couple of million, after all it’s not their money.

    I think it’s called empire building and keeping my job safe.

  9. This is really no joke.

    If there are 23,000 advisers this works out at about £24 per head. So firms with (say) 5 RIs will cough up £120.

    We fund it. When was the mantra ‘He who pays the piper, calls the tune’ abandoned. Should we deduct £27 per RI from out FCA bill? £24 for the FSCS PR airheads and £3 for the numpties at the MAS?

    Who thinks up these ways to waste our hard earned money and how much are THEY paid for doing so?

    This really is getting out of hand.

  10. ‘reputation management’?

    Sounds decidedly iffy.

  11. Every time I see this, I just add a further £1 on my hourly rate, what else can I do, after all that’s where the regulatory fees need to come from.. Client charges?

    You want fair, you play fair and show the same sort of prudence that the rest of us are expected to!!

    The FSCS acts as a form of caretaker for regulated investments. If a campaign is needed to make people aware of the need to exercise caution when investing into UNregulated areas, then that is not something that the regulated members of the industry need to pay for!.. What next? Shall we fund an awareness campaign against shoplifting, gambling and theft also, or in fact anything where members of the public may run the risk of losing money?

  12. Harry, the banks and building societies will pick up the majority of the bill. In terms of individual advisers I would imagine it will be pennies (if it can be quantified in that way).

  13. Some people say “is not the cost its the principle” in this case its both !!!

    For crying out loud what PR do the FSCS need ? if things go wrong they pay out, they could all work in an old underground toilet and still do the job.
    What the hell do they need a PR company ? probably to take pictures of pretty girls behind desks !!!

    Bloody hell my blood boils

  14. “spin is dead long live PR” – ideal clients for Prentiss McCabe.

  15. @ Matthew

    I was under the impression that all charges, levies and wasted money is apportioned equally according to the number of RIs.

    For example as a sole trader I have just paid a tenner for MAS and about two grand to the FSCS as well as £235 for the FOS levy . If each RI paid the same then assuming the same 23,000 thats £46 million to the FSCS – AND they levy further charges through the year (as the mood takes them). £230k for the MAS – which I know hardly covers the Head Banana’s wages and a further £5.5 million to the FOS in addition to the case charges.

    And we haven’t even started on the FCA Periodic Fee.

    I don’t call that pennies. It’s not that I necessarily object to the amounts – after all it keeps the hurdle high and ensures our scarcity value. What I object to is the waste. The profligate spending. The complete absence of any prudence from money collected from those who produce the wealth.

  16. Isn’t thier key objective to provide confidence in the retail financial markets? They achieve this by offering various types and levels of guarantees should a consumer be ‘swindled’.

    Promotion is therefore key for them to encourage people to inest with confidence.

    Its a bit sad when you really think about it though. FS has such a poor name it has to effectively offer a money back guarantee before certain people engage!

  17. Harry, the article states “The organisation says most of the cost will fall on banks and building societies but advisers will be among the firms faced with picking up the remainder. ”

  18. @ Matthew

    This rather proves a point. Before all this – before the FCA, FSA, PIA, FIMBRA, FOS, FSCS, TPR and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all, our savings ration was higher than it is today.

    In 1966 the ratio was 7.1, in 1979. 1980 & 1981 it was well over 10. Q4 2013 = 4.8. Q1 2014 = 4.9

    Rather puts a different light on that objective!!

  19. Putting aside who pays (our clients via our fees), the general level of this and the internal team of 4. Someone does need to be getting the message across about products and services which are NOT covered by the FSCS rather than the other way round. Arguably however, that should not be the REGULATED part of the industry i.e. via a levy which only affects the regulated and hence only paid by clients who are buying regulated products and services, it should be by general taxation as that comes form those buying both unregulated and regulated products via the tax which the unregulated business should be paying and if they are not, it is a lot easier to get the firm for tax evasion and fraud.
    Regulated firms are seen as a cash cow that has no say in paying the piper, were this coming out of taxation there would be a real outcry.

  20. Their annual report shows the full costs are paid by banks and they said so before. Their csmpaign is all about banks so it has no costs to advisers. People do not trust financial services so if it helps build trust, it is a good thing. Stop whinging.

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