Wet boots, but it’s not raining?


After reading the weekend’s Sunday Times, it continues to amaze me (though it really should not) that the employment of individuals in the “Is this role really necessary” category by NGA’s, Quango’s and regulatory bodies like the FSA and FOS, seemingly with little consideration being given to cost in relation to needs and budget continues to thrive.

A front-page appointments section advert, at what cost, is spotted for a charity organisation – “Achievement for All”, based in Newbury. It is searching for individuals to fill roles such as ‘Chief Programmes Officer, Programme Lead and Chief Quality Officer’.

This organisation seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, clearly a most laudable aim and one must assume they are successful at it. But how can a charity, that is it would seem government funded, justify paying salaries, in this case of between £50,000 and £80,000pa?

With salaries of this level and no doubt higher elsewhere in the organisation, how much can be left for the charity?

But, they are not alone and most certainly have a lot to learn from regulatory organisations like the FSA, MAS and of course the FOS who’s capacity to run fast and loose with a bottomless pit of other peoples money know no bounds.

With this in mind, it was therefore no surprise to read further into the appointments section of the Sunday Times, a quarter page advertisement for a FOS ‘Independent Assessor’ on a salary of £112,000 pa- pro rata, for a 3 day week!

Now the FOS has a vast budget, paid for by the industry from an ever-increasing level of levy. They currently employ some 1,500. Of this number, according to a very recent FOI request obtained by Alan Lakey, 352 are contracted, 24 are temps and 19 are fee paid Ombudsmen, a sort of ‘gun for hire’ roaming ombudsman.

The most recently available wage bill is around £68m. In 2002 it was £18.6m.

The FOS has a job to do, it is not a charity, neither are adviser firms, yet the continued sucking of financial blood from this industry simply to feed this voracious appetite continues unabated.

With the number of workers who left the industry through redundancy or job move rising six per cent to nearly 35,500 in 2012, will somebody at the FSA and the TSC look at this problem now? Are roles such as an ‘Independent Assessor’ actually needed and do they need to be paid so much?

If regulators looked at budgets, income streams and spending money in the same way as you do as a business, where success has come about by way of innovation, quaifications, entrepreneurism, customer care, hard work and marketing of your professional services, we may see some sanity return.

But until that happens, that nasty pool of foul smelling liquid that just splashed on your shoe is not, I can assure you, rain.



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