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Sants emailed FSA’s staff on Tory policy

FSA chief executive Hector Sants emailed all 3,300 members of FSA staff on election day reminding them that if the Conservatives won they would scrap the regulator.

In the email, Sants told staff: “If the Conservatives form the next government, we know it is their intention to make changes to UK regulatory structure. However, it will undoubtedly take time for them to develop the next stage of their thinking.”

Sants announced in February that he was to stand down as FSA chief executive this summer after three years in the role. He has previously clashed with the Tories over their proposal to scrap the FSA, move prudential regulation to the Bank of England and create a consumer protection agency.

A source close to the Conservative party says: “Sants could have waited until the next day, he did not have to send this email on election day. Our policies are well known.”

Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton, who stood as a Conservative candidate at the general election, says: “This was wholly inappropriate. It was obviously done to encourage a particular perspective to be taken by his staff.”

Sants’ email continued: “Regardless of whether the Conservatives have an outright majority or not, this will take time. The key thing is to continue to deliver on our current mandate and try not to be distracted from the important work that we do.”

He also told staff that he will reveal his leaving date and the arrangements for a successor by the end of May.

The FSA refused to comment on the email.

To read the full text of the email click here.


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There are 58 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Incompetent Regulators Award Team 13th May 2010 at 8:34 am

    Shows what a tart he is. He should have gone with the Scotsman.

  2. This is almost like insider trading – lock him up.

  3. Let me get this straight. WE, ie IFAs and the industry, PAY his salary to properly regulate the industry – and hes using the time we pay for to email people to encourage them to vote a certain way in an election!!!! Utterly inappropriate on so many counts. He should be sacked in shame and not allowed to resign
    What is wrong with us in this country that we allow these types of people to carry on abusing us in this way?
    I may have rabies i am foaming so much at the mouth…

  4. How could 3,300 people make any difference to the outcome of the election?

    I have gone on record often enough – we don’t need another period of regulatory upheaval, we don’t need a CPA… er, what I mean is YOU the regulated don’t need it… if you think it would be better then you are misguided.

    What we do need is BALANCE !”!*… sorry I shouted.

  5. Andrew Mallett 13th May 2010 at 9:24 am


  6. I am sorry this person is not fit for purpose encouraging their employees to vote in a certain way using the threat of losing their jobs. This is the same as the FSA is threatening to take away my livelehood after 2012 if I do not do things their way.

  7. cable for chancellor 13th May 2010 at 9:28 am

    I would expect this is clearly illegal under employemnt law.

    If my boss tried to influence my vote, they would be in front of an employmentt tribunal sharpish.

  8. Michael Fallas 13th May 2010 at 9:28 am

    I think this demontrates quite clearly this man is not unbiased or impartial but highly political and his judgement must be in question when he was clearly trying to persuade his staff how they should vote. He should resign now.
    A regulator must be unbiased. Even though WE pay his salary we have no say whatsoever in what goes on and we cannot even legally challenge anything they do. Until that changes injustice by the FSA will continue

  9. SIMON MANSELL 13th May 2010 at 9:29 am

    Now then I’m sure there is a constitutional issue here mainly because the FSA is an executive body and part of government. No body executive can have a political view or use its position for such a view. The FSA always claims independence but this is of course is a fiction and not true as Turner showed when he danced to Browns pro banking tune! Sants has abused his position and attempted to sway the vote of FSA employees. If he hadn’t resigned he should be sacked! On a personal note I pay the wages of the FSA and I don’t expect top support Sants political bias.

  10. David Whittaker 13th May 2010 at 9:29 am

    He’s a public servant and that was an abuse of office. Sadly, over the past decade public servants don’t get sacked as their opposite numbers in the private sector would do. Sants personifies all that is wrong with the FSA and government institutions at large. Getting rid of him in a hurry would be satisfying but would prejudice the longer term needed reforms over at Canary Wharf !!

  11. This is only the half of it. The guy who has been in charge of deciding whether IFAs are fit and proper is an x accountant who was censored for lying in a bank fraud court case *according to Accountancy Age). He will now probably be promoted to CEO.

    Scrap the FSA. It is rotten to the core and does nothing to protect consumers.

  12. David Whitley 13th May 2010 at 9:29 am

    This also goes to prove that under the Labour mal-administration the appointments of such people have been politically motivated rather than done on the basis on what is best for the consumer, and lets face it, the FSA has not done a lot since it’s creation to provide what is best for the consumer. Sants should be sacked immediately on the basis that he has used his position to try and persuade people to vote in a certain way. Imagine the likes of Mervyn King making such statements, there would be a national uproar.

  13. I totally agree he should now be sacked for a gross mis use of his position to try to politically persuade his staff ……………

  14. IFA Defence Union 13th May 2010 at 9:30 am

    This is unfair, unreasonable and illogical.

    Anyone up for a challenge?

  15. Rat leaving the sinking ship tells everyone who is left on board only turkeys vote for Christmas.

    Can there be a bigger fattened turkey than the FSA ?
    Annual cost to run over half a billion and had to have emergency overdraft facility of £200 million because of bad budget control and management.

  16. The fact that the FSA refused to comment on his e-mail says it all.

  17. Michael Fallas 13th May 2010 at 9:34 am

    to Evan Owen.

    3,300 votes could easily have made the difference between one party winning a seat over another.

    Which ever way you look at it it was an unnecessary email and should not have been sent. We do not pay Mr Sants to be a political animal and tell us who to vote for, we pay him to regulate our industry so consumers are protected from financial wrongdoing and he can’t even do that properly so wasting time on stupid emails is totally unnecessary.

    It is up to our Government to decide what form of regulation we have based on who has been voted in according to our democracy.

  18. Dermot Brannigan 13th May 2010 at 9:35 am

    We are, of course, all assuming that the 3,300 staff think Hector Sants is brilliant and will do anything he says! Perhaps this gave the Tories some more votes. After all, the employees have got more chance of carrying on working for a new regulator than he has of running it

  19. Grahame Goodyer 13th May 2010 at 9:41 am

    This is a total misuse of a privileged position.

  20. I completely agree with the first post, this man should not be allowed to leave complete with no doubt a substancial benefits package. His email was simply outrageous and the new government should ensure that he is dismissed. The FSA has been an ineffective hugely expensive failure. Their inability to control the Banks is clear. All IFA’s could all write a very long list of their failures. Sants should be sacked and a root and branch reform of the FSA is needed. Get rid of the waste, review their ridiculous benefits packages, get Vince Cable to review their methods and focus on allowing the public to get access to quality financial advice without strangling the IFA sector with unessasary red tape. Oh and outlaw some of the disgraceful estate agency advisors tactics which are well documented.

  21. What does he mean “Deliver on our mandate”?

  22. “3,300 members of staff” That figure tells us everything we need to know about this overblown, self important, self interested mini empire of big government .

  23. John O'Hearne 13th May 2010 at 9:59 am

    I suspect that most people whose jobs have been created by the last goverments ‘made up jobs for the sake of it’ will have voted for Labour. Like Greece we have an over inflated public sector and the cuts are coming. The FSA is yet another department not fit for purpose, it took its eye off the ball and allowed high street banks to take gambles they were in expercienced in and could not afford. To influnce staff to vote in a particular way shows a sign of desperation, Sants should resign and should never again be allowed to hold public appointed job.

  24. Give the guy a break – any good boss would do the same if their organisation and staff members’ jobs were in jeopardy or thier futures were to be uncertain for an unspecified period of time.

    No laws have been breached have they?

  25. ‘Desperate San’ ?

  26. To Michael Fallas

    Please accept my apology. I wasn’t aware of the fact that they were all living in the same constituency.

    What some of you need to understand is that (like you) some of the staff were scared of losing their jobs, morale was low and it has been difficult to recruit quality senior people.

    Imagine what that would do to any reasonably sized firm.

    I am not siding with anyone, I see things as an observer and commentator, I have a right to express my opinions based on what I see and hear rather than what I imagine.. hysterical ramblings on these ‘blogs’ do more harm than good, I should know.

    For the record my opinion of the regulators is as ‘mixed’ as it is of IFAs, there are some good ones but there are many who are in need of some direction.

  27. Disgraceful – I hope this is bought to the attention of the new government and they throw the book at them.

    How dare he sit there in those plush offices in Canary Wharf costing the tax payer and IFAs a ridiculous amount of money each year. Paying him and his inept colleagues bonuses of almost £20M a year and this is what he spends his time on, plotting and scheming to preserve this expensive quango!!

    I’m sure there are genuinely decent people in the corridors of the FSA as I know there are within the banking sector, who are appalled at what’s been happening.

  28. The FSA’s own Fit and Proper person test for acting as an “Approved Person” within the industry require that person to act with integrity.

    How can the FSA have a shred of credibility when its own boss so manifestly fails that test?

  29. I will never defend the FSA now.The FSA really are our boss.What they say we have to do???. Get you level 4 qualification or you are out of a job, ok boss. It will cost you loads of money and time to get through them, ok boss.
    Pay me £500 for a complaint that you gave good advice in. Ok boss.
    See the mistakes our competitors made, yes boss, please give me more money for that, ok boss.
    It is the first time I am getting a real feeling that we are beginning to stand up to the FSA. We should set a group up. Not AIFA that just agree with everything. We need someone to say NO.

  30. The FSA was a Labour invention – masterminded by Gordon’s favourite Treasury mandarin Lord Burns. It has anti commerce quasi Marxist outlook. You are seeing what the Coalition will be up against. In every area of Government and the judiciary Labour supporting staff are silently sitting waiting for a change of Government. The shroud waving is about to start. G

  31. Why is anyone at all surprised?
    They have had their snouts in the Labour invented trough for 13 years now….. How many times have many of us attacked them whilst others kept their heads below the parapet due to fear…? Well stick your head up above the parapet instead of up their A*ses and tell them the facts of life,

    Hector you are a disgrace to the Financial services Industry, hang your head in shame if you have an ounce of self respect!

  32. I think we are in danger of overstating the import of of Hector’s message.

    Was it a subtle hint to vote against the Tories? Or was it an update and reminder for staff to tidy up their CVs. After all, it’s not as if the 3,300 staff were unaware of the axe hanging over them, is it.

  33. To Anon 9.49
    What does he mean “Deliver on our mandates”
    He means annihilate all IFAs with Final Solution RDR and deliver consumers, on a plate, to the banks.

  34. Julian Stevens 13th May 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Vote not for what you think is right, vote to save your jobs, your nice fat salaries, your juicy bonuses, your lavish expense accounts, the splendid Christmas and leaving bashes (for people like me), vote for our complete lack of accountability to any outside body, the RDR, the costly works of art which adorn the walls of the plush offices in which you work, the generous pension contributions, the low work pressure, the freedom for us to set our own agenda, freedom from all but the most token censure for failure, freedom to set (and routinely breach) our yearly operating budget, the freedom to put out of work those we regulate who won’t or can’t pay the levies that we demand from them every year. Vote to save your Quango, your Club, your stepping stone to even better things. Vote for maintenance of our comfy status quo. Vote for power without responsibility. Vote for the FSA and to hell with anyone who dares to disagree.

  35. IFA Defence Union 13th May 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Good to see Garry Heath put the world to rights.

    Does he fancy another go at the Leviathan now that its guardian angel has gone back to Scotland?

  36. I always just assumed that they were all stupid enough to vote Labour anyway, with or without help

  37. QUANGO- Quasi autonomous non -governmental organisation. NOT!

  38. Michael Fallas 13th May 2010 at 3:40 pm

    to Evan Owen.

    I think we both understand where we are coming from. I did not say they were all in the same constituency and I also did not say advisers are perfect either.

    I would just like a level playing field and fair justice for all. The FSA accepts no accountability or responsibility for their own mistakes and it should do especially as WE pay them not the Government.

    Mr Sants email was clearly a poor judgement even if they could all lose their jobs and it’s timing was clearly designed to influence how his staff voted. Probably not against the law but it does show poor judgement in my view.

  39. Not much to add to the majority opinion, from personal experience I know they are arrogant and completely unable or unwilling to admit they are wrong. Why does a one-man-band operating from an office 8’X9′ with a turnover of less than £15,000 require a regulator costing millions?
    Only one reason, to help pay the collosal bill.Aand I voted Conservative because they were going to scrap the lot of them! Should have gone BNP.

  40. There are laws and security measures to prevent people illegally interfering with the elections. It’s an offence to:

    falsely apply for a postal or proxy vote
    supply false information or fail to supply information to the electoral registration officer at any time
    unduly influence someone, even if it doesn’t affect the way they vote. this information can be found on directgov under “government citizens and rights”

  41. David Barnett 13th May 2010 at 5:51 pm


  42. John Douglass 13th May 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Is this is what he means when he talks of treating people fairly?

  43. The first thing I notice on the comments is that many of them are anonymous. This is a symptom for the fact that the FSA is not a true regulator, but an intimidater.
    This man seems to be without a shed of proberty or understanding of the importance of his office. This is clearly an abuse of his office and there should be a parliamentary inquiry.

  44. Simon Mansell 13th May 2010 at 8:56 pm

    To Evan Owen.

    Why do you keep rushing to defend this man and the FSA. You have been fighting the FSA for years and you know how many good people have been destroyed by the FSA monster, some of which your have defended!

  45. SIMON MANSELL 13th May 2010 at 9:01 pm

    The FSA is a body of the executive and should not show political partiality.

    Hector Sants is a quasi civil servant and the performance of civil servants should be judged, according to the extent to which they uphold the values of impartiality.

    In mailing 3,300 FSA staff Hector Sants has breached the rule of impartiality.

    Carl J. Friedrich (political theorist) noted many years ago, ‘Such officials should be as responsible to leave political matters to their political masters.

    The British Civil Service Code, is notable for this provision. It reminds ministers of their duty to uphold the political impartiality of the public service.

    Perhaps Conservative MPs especially, should know that the impartial UK regulator is a not so impartial and is the lobbying arm of the Labour party?

    Many independent advisers (10,000 of which are to be culled by the FSA) are also asking why if it is appropriate for their fees to be used to pay for political lobbying in favour of the Labour Party especially when a recent poll by Money Marketing revealed that only 8% of advisers voted labour!

  46. To: Anonymous | 13 May 2010 10:06 am 13th May 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Your say give the guy a break! I’d be surprised if you were an IFA with such a view. There are an estimated 10,000 IFA’s that haven’t been given a break by this man. There are thousands of firms fined for endowment shortfalls caused by false regulatory projections and you say: Give the guy a break! There are advisers paying fees right now for regulatory errors concerning Key Data and many of these are joining a class action to fight for their rights and you dare to say: Give this guy a break. This industry is dying on its feet and you say give this guy a break! This Guy can go join Brown – his patron!

  47. SIMON MANSELL 13th May 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Chris Miller points out many comments are anonymous and this is a reflection of the fear many good men and women have for FSA. The view is that the FSA is regulatory Assassin of the Night who operates as judge jury and executioner. I wish I could say otherwise but this is not far short of the mark. It is a sad fact of life that there are many advisers who harbour this hatred and fear for the FSA and now we see Mark Hoban MP working with former regulators in order to reforms regulation. Looking to the problem in order to achieve a solution. It really does make you think that this is just one big club!

  48. Incompetent Regulators Award Team 13th May 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Gary Heath is spot on. This was a New Labour invention and supported with New Labour employees who all had their snouts in the trough. Now we have a Lib Dem and Toriy gvt who fought like mad against New Labour’s policies and bad running of the country, how can the FSA survive is beyond me!

  49. Evan

    As I understand it you are not authorised by the FSA so can speak with impunity yet your comments on this posts are becoming more and more pro FSA. I remember well when you felt just like the rest of us, whats changed?

  50. Sants used the money and time of the Financial Services Industry to try to promote the causes of political partys other than the Conseratives. This is disgraceful and I am making an official complaint to my MP about it and I suggest that others that work in this industry do the same!

  51. Regards anonymous comments.

    I’m sure many contributors also work for organisations which may have a relationship with the regulator that is reasonable enough to stay working in the industry despite its challenges.

    So, in the interests of job self-preservation, lowly employees sometimes have to err on the side of caution when publishing personal views which may in the worst case conflict with their employers position or, dare I say it, attract the regulators attention if the persons name may be known and associated to a relationship managed firm.

    This is unfortunate but at least these sites allow views to be aired and shared affording us a degree of freedom of speech albeit restricted.

  52. I have to agree with Alan Lakey on this one & feel this could be being blown out of proportion.

    1. We have not seen the whole email so it is difficult to judge the level of inference he has made on any point

    and more importantly

    2. Two of the quotes mention that the process of the regulator being replaced will take time.

    When thinking about the FSA it is easy to get swept away with all that is wrong with it and forget that all 3,300 are not the decision makers. Many will be general office workers and alike who will rely on their salary and understandably be concerned about their job security knowing the Tories’ plans.

    Is it not possible that Sants has sent this email in an attempt to reassure the staff that they will not be asked to clear out their desks the moment a Tory victory was announced?

    Sants has done a lot wrong while at the helm of the FSA but I feel in this case opinions about the man and his past actions are clouding judgement on this one.

  53. Some of you just amaze me. Have you actually read the email he sent?

    I mean Michael Fallas – is there any reason why the public think most IFAs are thick?

    1. As Evan said, 3,300 people can’t make much of a change
    2. The email doesn’t say “don’t vote tory”
    3. the email IS factual

    I am no massive fan of the FSA but boy oh boy, some of you are so thick it embarrasses me to be associated with you lot.

    Please Cameron – make sure the RDR is implemented and get rid of these “advisers” who can’t even understand subtle messages in emails.

  54. SIMON MANSELL 14th May 2010 at 7:23 pm

    The FSA has a heavy staff presence in Edinburgh. Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, head of the Treasury and the man that appoints the FSA, has his constituency in Edinburgh South West! Whist Sants e-mail may have been diluted in Canary Wharf it could well have had an impact in Edinburgh! Alistair Darling held the Edinburgh South West constituency for the Labour party at the 2010 general election!

    The FSA is a body of the UK executive. It is not independent of government; it is appointed by the Treasury and the head of the Treasure Is Darling whose constituency employs many FSA staff.

    Hector Sants is a quasi civil servant and the performance of civil servants should be judged, according to the extent to which they uphold the values of impartiality.

    In mailing FSA 3,300 FSA staff Hector Sants has breached the rule of impartiality.

  55. Message to: Harry | 14 May 2010 1:55 pm 14th May 2010 at 7:47 pm

    In response to your post Harry, “advisers” can and do understand subtle and not so subtle messages from you and from Sants! The FSA has a heavy staff presence in Edinburgh and Sants is open to the accusation of Gerrymandering because Alistair Darling, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, head of the Treasury and the man who appoints the FSA, has his constituency in Edinburgh South West! Sants e-mail may have been diluted in Canary Wharf it could well have had an impact in Edinburgh! Alistair Darling held the Edinburgh South West constituency for the Labour party!

  56. Reference Andy H and harry’s comments above. I find myself agreeing with you despite typing and then not sending an email to my MP (who has just one tehir seat) pointing out this was exactly why we were saying if NuLabour lost, the FSA needed a seriosu shake up. However I can see that as a boss, the head honcho may need to say something to the troops to maintain morale and point out that even if their patrons (Gordon and Alistair) loose their jobs, the incoming administration would nto change things overnight and lwoer level staff would simply change over to any new organsiation, which to some extent makes sense (I don’t agree with teh tearing down of the FSA, it just needs bringing back within common law to balance up the rights of small clients with small advisers.
    Whether we give Hector Sants the benefit of the doubt as Andy and Harry (and I might just), one has to say whether a Civil Serant would have risked sending an email like this and would this email have breached the Civil Service Code were Hector a civil servant in name rather than indirectly via a quango?

  57. I do agree with Michael Fallas too when he said “Mr Sants email was clearly a poor judgement even if they could all lose their jobs……. it does show poor judgement in my view.”
    I have removed the bits where I still give the benefit of teh doubt. But would a civil servant have put themselves in the position to have the accusations being made in the first place? I think not and why Hector should go and go now (rsign) without a terminal payment/golden handshake….

  58. SIMON MANSELL 17th May 2010 at 2:03 pm

    An IFA is never let off the regulatory hook on the basis of “poor judgement”. Impartiality from a public servant is to be expected.

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