The cost came to light after Derek Bradley, founder of online intermediary forum PanaceaAdviser, said he was receiving many communications from advisers who were concerned about the mounting costs of regulation upon their firms, many of which are small businesses.
Following news that advisers face a rise in fees to the FCA and an increase in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy, Mr Bradley made a Freedom of Information Act request, to enquire about the money the FCA spent to create its new brand identity.
The response, seen by Financial Adviser, stated that the full cost of the rebrand was £1m, which included a cost of £700,000 for the new website.
Marketing and branding consultant, Simon Ryan, of Social Advisors said: “For the extent of the changes that were required for a simple refresh from the FSA to the FCA and looking at what they have delivered, I’m not convinced the FCA will be able to claim they have received value for money.”
He added: “The website costs would raise alarm bells for me.”
He said: “As an industry, we are told that every effort is being made to ensure that regulatory costs are contained, that ideally budgets will be carefully considered, and that the FCA will exercise care in how it spends the money placed at its disposal by the firms it is empowered to regulate.”
Sarah Paul, marketing director, Panacea Adviser agreed: “For a website with no apparent tools or interactivity, I find it incredible that over £700,000 would be spent on a basic rebrand.”
Mr. Bradley said: “Perhaps the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), who has been advised of this spend, should conduct an enquiry into the regulator’s processes regarding infrastructure spending and ensuring value for money by way of quality at the very best price.”
Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the TSC, was invited to comment, but was unable to at time of going to press.
Chris Hannant, policy director at the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (APFA) agreed: “I believe it is incumbent on the TSC and the government to look at the lack of accountability in the FCA’s budget process.”
A spokesperson for the FCA commented: “Several agencies submitted quotes for the work on both the brand identity and website design and in both instances we chose the agency who offered the best value for money. All this was delivered on time and on budget.”