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Senior FSA staff broke guidelines on hotel costs

Senior FSA staff have broken the maximum cash limits set out in the regulator’s staff handbook.

In July Money Marketing revealed, through a Freedom of Information request, that in February FSA chairman Adair Turner (pictured) claimed £811.77 for two nights’ hotel accommodation.

He spent an average of £265 per night on hotels while FSA chief executive Hector Sants’ average bill was £225 per night.

Managing director Jon Pain claimed £545 for a two-night hotel stay and managing director Sally Dewar claimed £358 for one night’s hotel stay.

The average amount spent per night by all directors was £259.

The handbook states that hotel stays in the UK are subject to a maximum VAT-inclusive cost of £150 a night, excluding breakfast. This maximum rises to £170 including tax for foreign hotels and £250 for North America.

An FSA spokeswoman says: “All FSA staff are expected to follow the expenses policy and we will always try to get the best deal available, but we may not always be able to meet that limit due to exceptional circumstances that may arise.

On the £811.77 claimed by Turner, an FSA spokesman adds: “This particular expense relates to an overseas engagement the FSA requested Adair to attend prior to him joining the organisation.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “The FSA is industry-funded and it is essential that they don’t take liberties with our funds.”


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There are 89 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Oh look, the unnacountable FSA – which has singularly failed in every major task it has been set – is also failing to control its expenses bill.

    In the “real world” an employee would be told to find a cheaper hotel – perhaps it might mean having to WALK somewhere or – God forbid – catch the tube.

    As it isn’t their money and no one calls them to account, it’s no problem though. Is it?

  2. Whaaat?….The limit is £150 ?!?!?!…have they not heard of Premier Inns??..more than adequate for a nights kip…they arent there to party after all..

  3. If they can’t follow their own rule book what moral authority do they have to insist that the financial community they regulate follow theirs?
    I would suggets that with all recent publicity about MPs expenses this is a little more serious than “taking liberties”.
    Who regulates the regulator?

  4. Elizabeth D'Costa 20th January 2010 at 10:15 am

    Isnt that gross misconduct and fraud. Good to see that the FSA employ fit and proper people

  5. Presumably they have taken their lead from politicians, this is a disgrace, and they should be made to repay this excessive expense claim.

  6. Absolutely disgusting…

  7. This just goes to show that the FSA really is not in touch with our reality. It beggars belief that in America there was not accomodation available at the right price, presumably the mini bar at lesser accomodation lacked Dom Perignon.

  8. .. I’m sure Etap/TravelLodge would have welcomed them with open arms!?!?!?

    One rule for one, etc (esp with bonus issue in back of mind)!!

    Sadly I can’t see them (the FSA) being as tolerant for minor ‘indiscretions’ by the IFA community.

    Once we’re (IFAs) all out of a job, who’s gonna pay their bonuses, expensive hotel bills, etc … … oh, silly me, I forgot … the banks!!


  9. Once again we see public sector employee’s abusing the Brokers payments towards the FSA. Does this smell like another blatant abuse of public money, just like all those MP’s who also decided to abuse their position in public office.

  10. Not surprising but totally uneccessary – but like the MP’s, when someone else is paying…….refunds on the way I presume?

  11. I trust that since then they have of course met the balance out of their personal funds and have repaid the FSA….

    Time for my medication…..

  12. I’ve just been billed my annual FSA fees of £3,000. I questioned this and was told that this is due to the regulatory changes which will require more time and resources on their part.

    Now I read this.

    I want my money back!

  13. Typical “fat cat” mentality. The hierachy at the FSA – like MPs – assume their positions entitle them to be above the rules and regulations. What a devastatingly wrong assumption!

  14. Treating Financial Advisers fairly?

  15. This just about sums our industry up at the moment. As an ex Park Row adviser (CFP) still waiting to be authorised, it would be nice if the FSA Senior staff would actually let us know what problems they have with our applications and why they are all being treated as “non-routine”. I understand that they have issues with Park Rows past procedures but this is being over-zealous.
    This also comes on the back of a £500 case fee being levied against me for a complaint that was rejected by FOS. There is no recourse to recover this fee.
    It seems like we are being shot from all sides here whilst the FSA Senior staff bask in their power role. It would be nice to see this hit the national headlines like the MP expenses scandal.

  16. Incompetent Regulators Awards Team 20th January 2010 at 10:29 am

    Well what do you know, abuse on expenses as well as abusing regulated firms!

  17. Just like the MP,s expenses, they can do has they like with our money and no one can do anything about it. There will always be an excuse for them to rip us off and they are accountable to no one but themselves.

  18. If the Regulators Staff Handbook has clear guidelines then why are the rules being broken? If an adviser steps beyond the “rulebook” then there are consequences. These officials seem to be beyond reproach so more than likely this will fizzle out with no action at all.

  19. Is anyone surprised by this. Is it not time these people were made to take further examinations to carry on their role in society?

  20. Here we go again, just like the MP’s, they seam to think it is OK even when they have been caught out. I trust that they are going to be held accountable maybe the “Daily Telegraph” need to be told about it and let them highlight what is going on to the public, maybe when the public see what we brokers have to pay in fee and then see what the FSA then do with the money they will understand why we have to charge them fees. I am absolutely disgusted. yet another stab in the back.

  21. It seems that, as far as senior FSA employees are concerned, the limits in the handbook are routinely disregarded.

    Alan Lakey’s comments seem remarkably restrained ~ the FSA takes liberties with our funds all the time. Objets d’art, lavish Christmas and leaving bashes, enormous golden parachutes for the likes of Clive Briault, who knows what in the way of other miscellaneous expenses, generous bonuses all round in the wake of manifest failure, the list goes on and on. Is it any wonder the FSA is £14m overdrawn with the very banks it’s supposed to regulate? It’s all a disgusting gravy train for the fortunate few.

  22. Frustrated of Leeds 20th January 2010 at 10:52 am

    Take liberties with our funds? A bit late for that!! They overpay themselves, overspend on accomodation, overpay bonuses when they have blatantly failed in their main role of patrolling the banks – makes you wonder what they actually do??

  23. At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

  24. Don’t worry, they will just re-write the rules!

  25. Thats what they do!!! They take liberties with our funds, overpay themselves, overspend on accomodation, and overpay bonuses, oh and of course have a go at IFA’s ,thinking of ways to make our life more difficult

  26. No surprise there. On previous FSA visits to our area, the FSA boys have always stayed in the most epnsive and exclusive hotel in the region.

  27. In the early days of my career I cannot count the number of nights I HAD to kip in my car to save money to get my career started. I am so pleased to know that all my efforts have made it so comfortable for Adair, Hector and the boys in Canary Wharf. Your sincerely Tom .

  28. Can we remove his permissions and fine him £5,000. Surely this is a brach of Treating Cusomers (us IFA’s) Fairly?

  29. Unsuprised of Somerset 20th January 2010 at 11:19 am

    Lets give them a chance

    After all they could receive a fine in line with their salary and be banned from being a regulator for life

    Oh and pigs might fly

  30. They break rules that are laid down in black and white and will probably get away with it ! As an adviser if we misinterpret their ‘grey’ rules we get banned and/or fined! Doesnt seem fair to me! The quicker they are shut down and ousted the better!

  31. Whilst this article tells its own story of the disgraceful mentaility of the FSA rulemakers (& breakers), the most significant thing I noticed with other comments posted was how many felt the need to do so anonymously – myself included.
    We now live & work in an environment where decent, hard-working & honest IFA’s are genuinely scared of reprisals from a “regulator” who seems to do little to keep its own staff in check, fails to regulate the banks with near-catastrophic results for the entire country & yet forces layer upon layer of mindless & ill-conceived nonsense on the one sector of this industry that generally does a decent job!
    This has to end – & soon

  32. Ok which one of us is going to write to them and complain??


  33. If an IFA was found in breach of the FSA rule book what sanction would be taken by the FSA against hime or her? I am sick and tired of these fat cat parasites telling us one thing and doing another. This is an unaccountable, unelected gravy train with the IFA head on the track. The FSA can do no wrong even when it is wrong which is quite often. THey fail every task other than the decimation of the IFA sector and now they are caught with their hands in the till.

  34. Notice the anonymous comments – a reflection of the fear we all have for the unaccountable Stasi even when they are caught on the fiddle.

  35. All part of the “do as I say, not do as I do” culture of our corrupt and morally bankrupt government/country.

    The moment politicians ceased to permanently resign in disgrace (I’m thinking Peter Mandelson here) the rot rapidly set in to public life in Britain.

  36. Never heard of IP Logging? They’ll have ways of finding out who you are, don’t worry!

    Me? I think they are fine, morally upstanding citizens who deserve every backhander and jolly they can get their hands on. Do I mind putting my hand in my pockets for them? No, I’m an IFA blessed with the wealth of Croesus. A few hundred quid here and there for a hotel? It’s a mere bagatelle, and as for the art… why shouldn’t they adorn their offices with it? Maybe they’d be good enough to invite us over for a private viewing?

    [irony]So, I support them all the way.[/irony]

  37. Just shows that crooks aren’t the preserve of Government.
    If these are the cretins supposed to be policing the system, (which they have already shown they are not fit to do), they should be sacked, after repaying their over claims.
    The whole FSA is a self serving bunch of morons that would not survive in business.

  38. Whatever next….?

    Where are these guys staying, for goodness sake? When I come to London for monthly trade body board meetings….where an overnight stay is required….I can stay in a good class hotel with breakfast for £85 or so….( I DO NOT even claim this from the trade body concerned, as it’s a waste of Members’ funds )….

    How can Messrs TURNER and SANTS even have the cheek to hoodwink the industry in this way? Not only MUST the money be refunded….but they MUST also explain publicly how and why their bills are so astronomically high….

    I hope they or their PAs read this as I challenge them here and NOW to explain….

    … and they have the audacity to pontificate to advisers about TCF in the industry they have helped decimate to a great extent…I’m one such ‘customer’ who demands an explanation as to why my money is being liberally wasted in this way….unbelievable!!!!

  39. Do they not realise that the people who are paying for their excesses are struggling in the economic marketplace to make a living.
    I would expect nothing less than for them to repay any excesses claimed

  40. Just sent this articile to my MP. Asking, they were answerable for their expenses and if we did,nt agree we could vote them out. Who is the FSA answerable too and how do we vote them out.

  41. Just like our political system – the FSA is rotten to the core !

  42. Who the hell do these people think they are ? Arrogant, under-qualified, incompetent and still they think that they deserve bonuses and expense accounts as if they were Royalty.

    We’re the suckers ! We need a revolution to get rid of these leeches on the public purse.

  43. I have emailed the article to my MP, David Cameron, for his comments and I suggest that everyone else does the same.

  44. … one last thought …

    Where is AIFA’s ‘voice’ in the FSA expense/bonus rows??

  45. Whenever I meet staff from the FSA they have permanent supercillious grins on their faces. Now I know why.For how much longer will they be accepting our charity ??


  47. I hope someone will brief The Daily Telegraph on this matter, and also inform which ever organisation is supposed to regulate standards of those in public life.

    Maybe if they are made to reimburse us (who fund the FSA), they may become reformed characters quite soon.

    If their average spend is £259 per night against the allowable sum of £150, how many people and how many nights are involved? Hmm…I’d love to know

  48. CAN WE HAVE THE MONEY BACK? 20th January 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Ok so the average FSA spend per night by all directors was £259.

    The handbook states that hotel stays in the UK are subject to a maximum VAT-inclusive cost of £150 a night.


  49. What do we expect from these morons, they have their snorts firmly in the trough. It is apity they do not control the very large Conglomerates in the Industry who also avbuse their position, whilst nero fiddles while rome burns, with Nero being the FSA . It is all tom evident that the regulator supposedly, is clearly not fit for purpose, and should be disbanded completely, sack them all I say.

    Just look at the last decade, they have not learnt anything since the equitable fiasco, which is still ongoing, enough said, i rst my case.

  50. The FSA exists for its own benefit and that should be clear to everybody now. What have they ever achieved-nothing. Worse still intermediaries have to pay for these incompetents to carry on dreaming up “initiatives” and “crackdowns” which lead nowhere. The FSA is a complete and utter waste of other peoples’ money

  51. OOPS, looks like I might have broken those rules too!

    Me, John, David, Clive…

    Thank goodness for the regulated! Don’t you just love ’em, as genereous as ever, not.

    What I would like to know is what does this prove? Does it improve the bleak future for IFAs? Does it make regulators think kindly of IFAs?

    If you look at hotel rates at peak times in any city you would be hard pressed to find a decent place for less than £500, so, apart from Mr Pain they must have been staying in hovels thereby saving you lots of money while being unable to sleep in what amounts to poor quality camp bed.

  52. Budget lodging from Travelodge come in at just £19. The FPack are allowed £150 per night which is a over the top but when they claim on average £259 it is dishonest. I wonder if this is the tip of the iceberg. I note other costs such as their fine art collection, Tiners £11,000 leaving bash on HMS Belfast and maybe not last or least the £20m bonus for failure to regulate the banks.

  53. In any well run firm somebody is responsible for signing expenses off after they have referred to the appropriate procedures. So who would have been able to ignore the rules and settle them? Maybe the Directors sign each others expenses and can therefore ignore the rules! Great! Do the FSA ever get audited? I’d be very happy to offer – for free!!!

  54. And nothing will be done about…………..

  55. This is disgusting and should not be allowed to go away. How dare they lay down the rules for others and ignore them themselves. This is not a minor indiscretion it is blatant. A full enquiry should be held into this gravy train we have to support.

  56. I was worried when the FSA in its early days announced it wanted to be the ‘best regulator in the world’. I’ve become more worried by their actual performance & attitude as time has progressed. As a first statutory regulator in our industry they are far from impressive. I’m concerned about starting all over again with a new regulator as promised by the Tories, however where would you start trying to sort this lot out ? The FSA’s clumsy ill informed approach to regulation has significantly disadvantage clients and many of their advisers whilst making life much easier for the banks. Why ?




  58. They have a rulebook stating a generous limit in black and white, which they don’t stick to. But they insist you stick to vague guidelines which they can interpret however they see fit. As is so often the case, the shocking thing is that it’s not too surprising.

  59. …and you wonder why so many of us are heartily sick of the FSA and its mountainous bureacracy……………………….

  60. Well, that’s only 150% of allowed amount. Only concern is, could this be the tip of the iceberg?

    Why was it not picket by accounting people?

    Think we need more information in other areas. Consumers are paying a very high fee for the FSA, and then they abuse the funds.

  61. So we break the rules and the FSA come down heavily on us, heavy fines or being stopped from trading. What happens now are they all going to be dismissed or, dare I suggest, is it simply a lot of very hard rules for us, with heavy penalties,whilst it simply does not matter what FSA staff do or say, whilst we are paying for their excesses!

  62. You must be joking 20th January 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Dear Anonymouses (Anonymice?)

    Surely the most important paragraph of this article is the one that ends “but we may not always be able to meet that limit due to exceptional circumstances that may arise”.

    My suggestion would be that Standard Life challenges their fine (received today) regarding the drop in the Sterling Fund’s value on the basis of “well, it was exceptional market conditions, we know it shouldn’t of happened but it did, but it was exceptional circumstances”.

    What’s good for the (golden) goose is surely good for the gander!


  63. Do they care what you think? Ask them.

  64. I will be interested to hear what fine is imposed on the individual !!

  65. Not really suprising at all.

    As a former FSA employee, I had a large selection of hotel brochures on my desk and was allways encouraged by my managers to arrange the best accomodation when arranging visits to firms rather than best value for money.

    It would therefore be interesting to see how the entire hotel bill for all FSA staff breaks down, given the proliferation of cheap hotels round the country, to see if they are providing value for money, or as I suspect just taking liberties with public money.

  66. It is about time the “Old Lady of Threadneedle Street” was put in charge of regulating the Financial Services Industry.

    In my opinion it is the one Institution that carries the proper weight of authority and independence, and has the integrity that is required to oversee an industry that at the present time is overseen by an organisation that appears to attract nothing but loathing from all quarters of the financial services sector, and the public that it is charged to protect.

    The FSA appears to be puffed up by its own self-appointed importance, as witnessed by this expenses scandal, which is all the more galling for me in that I, as a pensioner, have had to suffer loss of income at the hands of the FSA in their lofty rulings favouring insurance companies raiding with-profits funds.

    There should be a forensic audit of all expenses submitted by Directors and Managers over at least the last five years, a task that is needed to prove that there is, or is not a can of worms waiting to be uncovered, and if found wanting the principals should be brought to book, for surely it is a form of embezzlement of Public Funds that is taking place.

    I for one will not sleep easy whilst knowing that the FSA FAT CATS can indulge themselves by staying in fine hotels and dine out on my taxes in such a lavish way.

  67. The real question is why was the expense payment authorised? Just because someone submits an expense claim doesnt mean it has to be paid.

  68. I have just sent a copy of the article with a few choice comments to my MP by email. I would encourage everybody to do the same.
    This is an absolute disgrace!!

  69. I trust this means that the staff concerned will be sacked, fined and be prohibited from working in the financial services industry.

  70. This must have been allowed to happen due to collective intellectual failure – collective means no one individual is to blame – they are all at it so that makes it ok.Daily Telegraph please scrutinise the FSA & the prolific spending of other peoples money that goes on at Canary Wharf.

  71. I have also copied this to my MP and also a couple of newspapers that I thought may be interested. Let’s take this opportunity to let the wider world know what we think of this!

  72. what we won’t be shown is the actual itemised hotel bill. The actual and rediculaous figures we are being given is probably just the room rate! These will no doubt not include, taxis ( more likely chauffer driven executive hire) meals ( no doubt from the top of the a la carte menu) House Wine ( sorry thats a joke) morning newspaper, 1/2 larger at the bar ( another joke) etc etc etc

  73. Might I suggest the FSA Chairman camps outside whereever he is visiting, perhaps in a tent on the nearest roundabout or grass verge, with a little stove outside to boil himself some water for a cup of tea in the morning. Do you think the absolutely immense amount of money that each IFA pays in fees to the FSA could possibly run to that, or should the FSA Chairman just lick some dew off some leaves and hunt a rabbit for breakfast before he sets off to meet the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, etc, who I’m sure will excuse the stubbly face, grass stains, and muddy fingers etc?

  74. G Ling, you are the FSA chairman AICMFP (and I claim my five pounds).

  75. Nobody should be surprised by this, it is what one would expect of the useless pen pushers at the FSA. They have never achieved anything and their sole function is interference, their sole product hot air and like all bureaucracies, exist for their own benefit only. The ultime irony is that the poor intermediaries have to pay for it all. The banks can afford to pay and in any case get an easy ride because the so called regulators have a cosy relationship with them.
    The hotel bills will be the tip of the iceberg, once these people get a taste for the high life it becomes addictive, someone else pays so why should they care. It is repugnant that these completely unproductive and useless fat cats should be getting away with such abuses.

  76. Wibble wibble
    chopsticks up nose
    hanky on head
    Blackadder could not surpass the FSA

    Financially Stupid & Amoral

  77. A different one to prior post!!

    Has anyone checked to see how much the audit staff spend on hotels??

    The regulator and much of government is a complete runaway train of expense with no element of control, simple staff with experience similar to other professions but expenses running at the level of senior managers in outside industry, ie bank regional managers and above.

  78. Re G Ling or is that Jailing?

    Clearly you are from the FSA as you consider the next step down from an £811 for two nights hotel as a tent on a roundabout.

    The owners of a billion turnover business where I once worked used to pay up to £150 per night for their hotel, clearly the FSA top brass consider themselves more valuable.

    It is a holiday camp which parties while the banks it regulates destroys the country and places the tax payers of the country in debt and recession.

  79. Whilst I am sure we would all like to stay in luxurious hotels when away from home, we all need to be practical – if there are guidelines, they should be followed. BUT what about moral guidelines?? Oops sorry forgot who we were discussing?
    When I travel on business, I do the” would I pay for this if it was my own money” check – if the answer is no, why should I expect my employer to pay?

    I think it is time for an MP style – name and shame programme………

  80. Gosh!

    As always it is the little things that have got people worked up.

    Why is there not a big response to the big things they have done. that have cost not a few hundred pounds but billions?

    But it does I suppose illustrate well how corrupt this whole Government and it’s hangers on are. We have let an unelected unaccountable elite take over and this is what happens they just do exactly what they want when they want at our expense.

  81. Anonymous 4.12pm 21/10 – Travelodge may have rooms for £19, but are these available in Frankfurt, Tokyo, New York etc, loacations where the head of the Uk’s financial regulator is likely to be staying?

    It’s a rhetorical question, you don’t need to answer (not that you would anyway)

  82. Gosh!

    As always it is the little things that have got people worked up.

    Why is there not a big response to the big things they have done. that have cost not a few hundred pounds but billions?

    But it does I suppose illustrate well how corrupt this whole Government and it’s hangers on are. We have let an unelected unaccountable elite take over and this is what happens they just do exactly what they want when they want at our expense.

  83. Ill answer for him Robert.
    Tokyo – Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel – £24 per night
    NEw York – Chocolat Hotel and Hostel – £13 per night
    Frankfurt – Pension Alpha Frankfurt -£28 per night
    PS – This took me 4 minutes on

  84. @ Paul Harding:

    Tokyo – Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel – £24 per night
    NEw York – Chocolat Hotel and Hostel – £13 per night
    Frankfurt – Pension Alpha Frankfurt -£28 per night
    PS – This took me 4 minutes on

    Googling the NY hostel, this is a four bed dorm room. Do you really think the Chairman of the FSA is going to stay in a bunk bed? Do you really think that is a reasonable proposition?

  85. Mark,
    My point (intended to be ever so slightly humorous – did you not notice the word Capsule in the Tokyo one?!?!) was that it took me 4 minutes to find them. With another 4 minutes i could have found a single room at a totally reasonable rate in each city, well below a £400 a night rate.
    I initially only had 4 minutes to spare on this issue – now youve made me overspend by 50%..still at least now i see how easy that can be….. 🙂

  86. Alistair E Niven 22nd January 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Charge them with the excess. The guidelines seem very generous to me but but then I only spend money I earn.

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  89. why all the fuss, the fsa did explain that this expense was made before he came on board officially into the fsa

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