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City slams FCA’s £90,000 rebrand plans as a ‘total waste of money’

The FCA last updated its logo in 2017, which cost over £66,000.
The FCA last updated its logo in 2017, which cost over £66,000.

News that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has committed almost £90,000 to a “brand refresh” has left the Square Mile fuming, with one City figure describing it as a “total waste of money”.

Despite going through the same process only seven years ago, the watchdog is shelling out £89,622 “to develop a refreshed brand and proposition – articulating what we stand for, who our audiences are, and what our proposed brand position should be,” according to contract documents.

Public relations agency MHP Group was awarded the project last month and will work on it for six months.

Ben Yearsley, co-founder of Fairview Investing, said that he thought the brand refresh was a “total waste of money”.

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“Why do public bodies, especially one such as the FCA, need to waste money on rebrands?” asked Yearsley. “They aren’t selling to anyone, and they’re already pretty visible.”

Richard Burger, a partner at law firm WilmerHale, also criticised the decision.

“The City knows who the FCA is, so many will question the need for rebranding, let alone the cost, which would be better spent on FCA staff,” he said. “It’s not a great use of the fees and levies that firms work so hard to pay.”

Richard Cannon, a partner at Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, said there was a growing concern that regulators and enforcement agencies “appear more concerned with how things look, than how things are.”

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, agreed, arguing that “the FCA should be focused on making sure regulation is up to date and relevant, not its own image.”

News of the rebrand comes as the regulator has seen its relationship with the City increasingly strained in recent months, clashing over red tape and the FCA’s controversial ‘name and shame’ plans.

An FCA spokesperson said the revamp was needed “to help ensure that we are engaging consumers and firms in the best way possible to achieve our objective of protecting consumers from harm”.

MHP Group declined to comment.

Other notable image revamps by regulators include the Bank of England’s 2022 rebrand, which saw the central bank spend over £50,000 for a new logo.