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Artful use of new funds by FSA

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Artful use of new funds by FSA

Who said that post-financial crisis London was a greyer, more sombre place? Not anyone who had stepped into the FSA HQ recently, apparently. According to a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the regulator currently has £163,000 worth of art hanging in its offices.

Outgoing chief executive Hector Sants warned last week that the more confrontational approach to regulation will cost more, saying: “If society wants a more proactive approach it must accept that it will have a larger and more expensive regulator.”
However, he failed to explain quite where the décor comes into all this.
Along with a mass recruiting drive and other staff and pension costs, the FSA is also channelling funds into not-so frugal premium office space in Canary Wharf. Spending on accommodation and office services jumped 28.5% from £47.6 million to £61.1 million last year.
This strange piece of example setting from the regulator all comes courtesy of the financial services industry, which has to cover the recent 18% increase in the regulator’s budget in the form of levies. Though the cost rise is ostensibly to prevent a repeat of the greed induced money meltdown, it’s nice to know that apparently it still finds a place for good old fashioned indulgence.
Though the FSA claims that a number of items decorating the plush base of operations were donated “at zero cost,” it still found the need to blow £16,500 renting and buying art in 2009.
The FSA has apparently now tightened up its cultural investment, and from now on will be cheering up its walls with pieces donated by staff, local schools and art colleges.

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