Home Estate Planning Revealed: FCA hikes pay to fend off pull of the private sector

Revealed: FCA hikes pay to fend off pull of the private sector

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to hike pay for all its employees this year as it looks to pull in more staff from the private sector, City A.M. can reveal.

Staff at the City watchdog are in line for an average performance-based pay hike of 4.83 per cent, with some high-performers in line for a 6.5 per cent boost, the FCA told staff today.

Low-performers and those “developing in role” will see an increase of around 1.5 per cent, with another pay review set for the middle of this year.

The move will push the FCA to near the top of the pay bracket among public sector bodies, where performance-based pay is a rarity due to tight government controls on spending as well as union pushback.

However, the regulator has been grappling with ways to retain and tempt in staff amid an exodus into the private sector and a rapidly expanding remit.

“Our aim is to provide a competitive salary and benefits package which enables us to attract and retain staff,” Emily Shepperd, FCA chief operating officer and executive director of authorisations, said in a statement. 

“The outcome this year means we will continue to be one of the best paying employers amongst the UK’s regulators, public authorities and enforcement agencies and support our ambition to close the pay gaps which do still exist,” she addded.

Staff at the FCA received performance-pay bonuses up until last year but they were scrapped as part of an overhaul on pay. Hundreds of staff missed out on final payouts after the regulator tightened its criteria, Financial News reported.

The move to lift salaries today also follows a series of bruising run-ins with unions who staged strikes through 2022 in a dispute over pay and conditions. 

However with performance-related pay now on the books at the FCA, boss Nikhil Rathi is understood to have wanted to work directly with those same unions in setting this year’s reward structure.

The FCA’s internal Staff Consultative Committee representatives, (SCC) which includes representatives from unions Unite and FDA, fed into the move for the first time and “influenced the development of the pay decision,” an FCA spokesperson told City A.M.

Under the new salary regime, the watchdog said it would narrow its gender and ethnicity pay gaps down to 14.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively, but acknowledged “there is still more to do”.

The pay lift comes amid a major recruitment push under chief chief Nikhil Rathi as the watchdog’s remit stretches into new areas.

In its latest annual report in July last year, the regulator said it was at its “highest headcount ever” and had swelled to around 4,500 staff at the end of March.

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