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Giant pay packages said to be on offer at the regulator

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Has the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) succumbed to market pressure and hiked up compensation? Last time staffing at the UK’s new regulator was mentioned in the press, it was in the context of ‘surging staff turnover’ and a ‘regulatory brain drain.’ 

Now, as if by sheer coincidence we hear of £200k packages for senior supervisory staff and attempts to lure people with a 30% increase on their current levels of pay. This follows the appointment of four new senior supervisory hires earlier this year. “They seem to have a far larger budget for recruiting people,” said our recruitment source, speaking strictly off the record.

Is this true? The FCA declined to comment, saying only that it balanced the need to recruit and retain individuals with sufficient expertise against the needs of the FCA as a whole.

Marnie Woolf, director at compliance recruitment consultancy Woolf & Co., said the FCA pays quite a lot nowadays. “People come out of the regulator thinking they’re underpaid and that everyone else in the industry is earning these enormous packages, when actually the regulator caught up in terms of pay some time ago.”

Can you really achieve a 30% increase in your pay by transferring across to the regulatory HQ at Canary Wharf? Maybe not. Another recruiter told us the FCA doesn’t pay that well: “They’re usually 5% below market.”

Last year’s FCA annual report said the regulator restricts bonuses to 35% of salaries and that the average FCA employee earns £90k a year. The FCA is current advertising 25 job vacancies, including two associate level jobs supervising investment banks.

One compliance recruiter said the FCA is a good career move – as long as you’ve had a bit of investment banking experience beforehand. People who’ve only worked at the FCA and then switch into banks find it hard to cope, he said – “They’re only used to saying no.”

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