Financial Conduct Authority  

MPs grill Bailey over 'explosion' of bullying claims at FCA

MPs grill Bailey over 'explosion' of bullying claims at FCA
 Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA

The outgoing chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has defended claims there had been an increase in bullying and harassment complaints at the regulator. 

At an evidence session in front of the newly-formed Treasury committee yesterday (March 5) MPs grilled Andrew Bailey over a "record level of complaints" from staff during his three and a half year tenure as head of the watchdog.  

Conservative MP Steve Baker asked the FCA boss what he attributed the "explosion" in bullying claims to, after referring to a recently-published report by Gina and Alan Miller's 'True and Fair Campaign'.

The report raised concerns about the upcoming appointment of Mr Bailey as the next governor at the Bank of England, claiming there had been a string of financial losses and failings during his tenure at the FCA. 

But in response Mr Bailey branded the report as a "very misleading account" of what had occurred at the FCA, instead insisting the regulator's own staff surveys showed employee satisfaction within the organisation had risen.  

Mr Baker said: "Another point [the report] makes is about staff sickness and mental health, what's your response [to that]?"

The FCA chief executive defended the regulator's track record, claiming its sickness rate was "slightly above" that of the private sector and "slightly below" the public sector average.

Mr Bailey said: "We encourage our staff to engage on mental health.

"I have to say, and I am happy to write back and give you all the details on this, that [the report] does not accord with what I see at the FCA. It does not accord with what our staff tells us. 

"Yes we do get cases, all organisations get cases, and I get very concerned when I hear about these. 

"But I believe in total transparency, if people wish to make a case then they should be able to. The worst sort of organisation is the one which suppresses them." 

Mr Bailey was appearing before the Treasury committee in preparation for his move to the Bank of England next week, where he will take up the helm as its governor after incumbent Mark Carney steps down from the role. 

As is procedure, the Treasury committee is tasked with scrutinising the appointment of any new governor of the Bank.

Mr Bailey told MPs yesterday the role of chief executive at the FCA was a "very tough job" which at times was "hellishly tough", but insisted despite the challenges it was a "fascinating" position. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com

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