As boss of the FSA, Hector Sants is not really regarded as ‘one of us’ by the banking community, and there has not been any particular public outcry about his substantial (but more modest than elsewhere) performance related bonus. The £143,750 windfall, which has been awarded for his work over the last 15 months, was revealed by the FSA in its annual report today. But the report also said that Sants never saw the bonus, instead requesting that it be donated to The Art Room under the Workplace Giving UK charity scheme.
The Art Room is a charity that uses art therapy to support children suffering from emotional or behavioural difficulties. It has five branches around the UK and the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, is a patron. The charity funds art teachers to give special classes to children in a selection of schools, helping them to build their self-esteem.
Sants has a pedigree banking background, having worked for Phillips & Drew, UBS and Credit Suisse First Boston in various investment banker roles. He joined the FSA in 2004 and became chief executive in 2007. Only the other week, Sants told how the government and the Bank of England should have listened to him as the financial crisis was kicking off in the UK: he reckons the bank run on Northern Rock could have been prevented on his advice.
Of course, industry regulators are rarely appreciated by those they regulate, and the City is no exception. The FSA is peopled by gamekeepers who weren't good enough to be poachers, is the general attitude in the Square Mile. But if a few more of the poachers had a similarly philanthropic approach to disposing of their bonuses, the whole industry might have a better reputation...