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FCA splashes £157k on plants and catering

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The FCA spent more than £27,000 on plants and £133,000 on catering across its London and Edinburgh offices in the 12 months ended 31 March 2016.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Money Marketing, the regulator did not purchase any plants but paid £23,114 to a contracted supplier that provides and maintain plants in its Canary Wharf office in London.

It paid £4,515 to the contractor that manages plants at its office in Edinburgh.

On catering, the FCA spent £133,024 for external meetings held at Canary Wharf in the 12 months to 31 March 2016. That figure includes catering in the conference suite, the chairman’s office and boardroom. According to the FOI it covers water, tea and coffee, lunches, breakfasts, dinners and canapés.

It did not spend any money on catering at its Edinburgh office with external guests offered tea and coffee that is also available to employees.

The FOI response says: “The FCA holds several thousand meetings a year. In order for the FCA to fulfil its role as a financial regulator it needs to hold regular meetings with firms, consumer groups and overseas regulators and some form of catering is supplied at those meetings.”

The regulator said it did not purchase or loan any artwork for its two offices.

Libertatem director general Garry Heath was not surprised by the figures: “We looked at these sort of costs before and they are always pretty exotic.”

He adds: “It is a big organisation. The point is that no one will stop them doing it because there is no control over their spending. Cost of regulation goes up around year-on-year by about 10 per cent compound and it will continue to do so because there is no downward pressure on their fees.”

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Ah, a good old pointless FOI request story. This time we reveal the shocking news that the FCA spends 16 pence per working day per employee on catering.

    I hope lots of them are bringing their own lunch in because otherwise they’re even worse fed than schoolchildren. Treble Turkey Twizzlers all round.

  2. When you say ‘plants’ do you mean that they have listened to a ‘whistleblower’ and managed to put someone on the ‘inside’?

  3. Julian Stevens 13th June 2016 at 5:11 pm

    And I’ll bet the NAO won’t bother challenging such expenditures. Garry H echoes my own views that what’s really needed is a regulator of the regulator but such a body is unlikely to come about any time soon, for the simple reason that there’s insufficient political will.

  4. Jonathan Willis 14th June 2016 at 6:58 am

    Meetings held by providers and most firms I visit provide sandwiches, coffees etc but I’m not sure that they would be spending £11,000 per month on catering. It’s highly unlikely that they will be feeding their employees, how many firms in the private sector feed their employees?

  5. Jonathan Willis 14th June 2016 at 6:59 am

    *wouldn’t be spending £11,000 per month on catering

  6. Thats right Julian – Lets set up another oversight organisation at the cost of many millions of pounds recurring every year – which we will pay for – to stop the FCA watering their plants!

  7. Julian Stevens 14th June 2016 at 1:27 pm

    No need for that ~ it should be part of the NAO’s (presently token) remit. Would an internal catering department of its own cost the FCA £133,024 a year? That’s an average of about £532 per working day.

    At the office complex where my office is located, I can arrange a very acceptable buffet lunch for 30 people for less than £100. Reasonable expenditure, it seems, is not a phrase in the FCA’s lexicon. An external body is required to make it one. Or do you disagree?

  8. You cant determine ‘reasonable’ from a blankey FOI request that has no context in the grand scheme of things – We have no idea what this figure actualy means in reality – certainly compared to your budget buffet!

    Also I wonder how much it costs the FCA to fulfill these ‘enlightning’ FOI’s all the time? Useful spend?

  9. Julian Stevens 15th June 2016 at 3:58 pm

    !. The buffets available here aren’t budget. Not quite five star, but they’re jolly good.

    2. An average spend of £532 per day, every day on catering is pretty sizeable by any measure. And bear in mind that the FCA hardly has a creditable record of observing its own expenditure limits on overnight accommodation.

    3. Are you suggesting that the FCA should be exempt from FOIR’s just because it takes time and therefore money to respond to them?

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