City Sackings and Suspensions at Five-year High in UK

The number of sackings and suspensions of staff at UK financial institutions (FIs) has reached its highest level in five years, according to figures obtained by international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Data obtained by the firm through a Freedom of Information request shows that 1,373 financial services employees were dismissed or suspended in 2012; representing a 56% increase in dismissals and suspensions compared with the previous year.

Pinsent Masons said that changes to the employment status of individuals who require Financial Services Authority (FSA) authorisation to carry out their function must be registered with the regulator. FSA-regulated businesses are also expected to indicate where employees have been sacked or suspended, most commonly as a result of suspected wrongdoing.

In addition to sackings and suspensions, the data suggests that the number of job losses in the sector has reached its highest level since the peak of the financial crisis in 2008. A total of 36,868 people in the sector lost their jobs in 2012, bringing the total number of people to have left their posts in the past five years to 177,697.

“The FSA has increasingly shown that it is cracking down on financial crime and market abuse,” said Helen Farr, a London-based partner at Pinsent Masons’ financial services team. “Financial services firms are operating under increased scrutiny and as a result employers are imposing industry rules more strictly.

“FSA enforcement activity has clearly had an impact on firms’ willingness to tolerate wrongdoing. Firms now appear much more likely to discipline employees for offences. The rise in number of staff dismissed from 778 to 1,373 in a 12-month period suggests that the threat of enforcement and reputational damage associated with rogue traders such as
Kweku Adoboli
are clearly having an impact.

“The total number of job losses in the sector is striking. While it should be kept in mind that many of these people may have been re-employed and some will have simply transferred internally, the numbers certainly tell a story. It will be interesting to see the impact that further reforms around ring fencing or formal business divisions, as foreseen by the Vickers and Liikanen Reports, will have on the banking sector.”

The figures for the period 2008 to 2012 are as follows:

‘Clean’ withdrawals, such as internal movement of staff, resignation, redundancy, retirement or end of contract:

2008:
36,639     
2009:
34,225 
    2010:
32,939 
    2011:
33,435     
2012:
35,495

‘Qualified’ withdrawals, such as dismissals and suspensions:

2008:
803 
    2009:
1,095 
    2010:
885 
    2011:
778 
    2012:
1,373

Source: Pinsent Masons

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