FSA responds to critics by introducing staff training

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is introducing a formal staff training programme after receiving complaints from City professionals that its employees lacked understanding of the industry.

The finance watchdog is launching a regulatory curriculum designed to improve its employees’ professional knowledge of the industry and enhance interpersonal skills.

HR director Kathleen Reeves admitted that some executives in the financial services industry held the opinion that FSA staff didn’t understand their business.

“This is about listening to what the industry wants and responding to their criticisms,” she said. “We have employees who know the industry well and others that are new to the regulatory industry and are on a learning curve.”

The new curriculum is made up of five elements: regulation and FSA philosophy, market knowledge, financial knowledge, interpersonal and business skills, and IT skills.

“The new programme will make it clear to people what they need to do in their roles. It will be much easier for them to see what is required of them,” she said.

The watchdog is looking at rolling out the curriculum from June next year to about 1,200 employees who are in direct contact with companies. It will be paid for as part of the FSA’s existing 3m training budget, Reeves said.

All 54 of this year’s graduate intake will go through the new training programme.

The FSA appointed Reeves in June to the newly created position of HR director. She joined after two years with Direct Line insurance. She said the FSA’s approach to training was part of the attraction of the role.

Earlier this year, the FSA improved its remuneration system to attract higher calibre people to the organisation. The average salary at the regulator is now 56,000, with 190 employees paid more than 100,000.


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