When WSJ sister title Money Marketing last week revealed the FCA’s spiralling legal costs following a bungled announcement of its closed book review, it caused something of a stir.
A Freedom of Information request revealed the FCA’s legal bill has hit £2.2m, including a £60,000 spend on spin doctor FTI Consulting, which no doubt the regulator hopes will provide some much-needed damage control in the wake of the closed book blunder.
Formerly known as Financial Dynamics, the PR firm has also worked with Phoenix, the closed book provider that saw its share price, alongside many other insurers’, drop dramatically following that ill-fated article in The Daily Telegraph in March.
It has also worked for Aviva, which saw its share price tumble as the FCA took six hours to clarify the terms of its closed book review.
Readers may wonder if it is wise for FTI to be advising the FCA on its handing of the situation given its links to the insurance sector.
Still, at £60,000 for a one-off project, FTI won’t be too unhappy.
Given the FCA has its own in-house press team, some have questioned why it needs to hire in extra help. Perhaps the regulator chose FTI precisely because it knows how to placate insurers still bruised from a series of knocks handed down by the FCA and the Government.