FCA to spend £60m fitting out new offices

Move to Stratford to cost regulator £60m in fit out costs

The FCA’s offices in Canary Wharf

The FCA is to spend £60m fitting out its new offices in Stratford.

Board minutes released by the regulator say the FCA plans to start moving to its new offices in East London in May 2018 and out of its current Canary Wharf premises.

The FCA is budgeting £60m “in respect of fit-out costs for the new Stratford office that is expected to be funded externally, the costs of which will be recovered against the rent free period.”

The project is being run in three strands: the building, technology and human resources/people policies, while security was also being discussed by the board.

The FCA reported that “‘move makers’ had been successfully mobilised from across the organisation to act as conduits between the project team and all staff and there was a strong emphasis on listening to staff views.”

The regulator first confirmed the move to the Stratford International Quarter development next to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2014, securing a 20-year lease on the 430,000 square foot site.

At the time the move was announced, the regulator was spending around £30m on accommodation and office services costs across its Canary Wharf and Edinburgh bases.

The FCA has around 3,700 staff, with the board minutes showing that the regulator had taken on an additional 25 full time equivalent staff as “EU withdrawal resources”.

The board minutes also say that Boardroom Review Ltd, the company that was hired to evaluate the performance of the FCA board in 2015, would be invited to do so again this year and publish their report.

“Guidance” vs “advice”

The board minutes show that, in its monthly report, the FCA Consumer Panel – a statutory group that advises the FCA – had “expressed concerns about the distinction between ‘advice’ and ‘guidance’ in the context of the Financial Advice Market Review.”

The FAMR working group recommended in April that the terms “advice” and “guidance” should not be replaced because there were no better alternatives, but the terms should come with an explanation.