It can’t be easy working at the Financial Services Authority these days. Once Gordon Brown’s favourite regulator, it's now facing the chop courtesy of Chancellor George Osborne, who has decided that it should carry the can for the failures leading up to the financial crisis. And as you'd expect of an organisation doomed to closure, staff are abandoning it in their droves - resignations have soared in recent months. Not exactly surprising; but it's a reminder that with Osborne yet to set a firm date for its demise, those in charge are facing an almost impossible management task...
According to figures from law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, FSA staff resignations have more than doubled since the Coalition government came to power. Since the first three months of 2009, resignations from the embattled regulator have increased almost fivefold, from 24 to 121. In fact, so far this year, 183 people have resigned from the FSA – which is more than the total number of resignations for 2009. A rats/sinking ship scenario, clearly.
But while Osborne confirmed in June that he’d be scrapping the regulator (handing over its role to the Bank of England), he hasn’t yet confirmed a date – which puts it in a rather uncomfortable state of limbo. Presumably anyone who can find a job elsewhere will be out of there before you can say ‘October spending review’, while recruiting anyone to replace these fleeing staffers is going to be challenging, to say the least.
It could, of course, be worse: at least Hector Sants, the organisation’s chief executive, has agreed to stay on through what Osborne has rather sinisterly termed a ‘reorganisation’, along with deputies Sally Dewar and Jon Pain, and COO Mark Norris. So at least staff can take comfort in the fact that there’s a solid leadership team in place. However, everyone below that level appears to be running for the door as fast as their legs will carry them - leaving the remaining staff doing more work, with zero job security. Not an easy motivational task for Sants and co.
Presumably, Osborne will eventually settle on a time to put the FSA out of its misery. Until then, though, its staff are just going to have to make the decision between finding a jobs that aren’t threatened by closure – or perhaps hoping their loyalty will be rewarded with a nice, juicy payoff. Although we wouldn't hold our breath on that score...
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