City regulator staff slated over ‘shameful’ behaviour at London HQ

The City watchdog has warned staff to clean up their act following “shameful” behaviour at its London headquarters, including verbal abuse of catering teams and workers defecating on toilet floors.

A senior boss at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which is in charge of policing bankers and financial firms – has written to staff over their bad behaviour at the watchdog’s £60m office in Stratford, east London.

“You may have heard about some of these behaviours already and I’m sure others will come as a shock,” the FCA’s chief operating officer, Georgina Philippou, said in a note published on the authority’s internal website.

She reprimanded staff for a list of unpleasant practices, including: “Leaving cutlery and crockery in the kitchen areas, overflowing bins, stealing plants and charging cables from desks, catering and security teams being subject to verbal abuse, colleagues defecating on the floor in toilet cubicles on a particular floor, urinating on the floor in the men’s toilets and leaving alcohol bottles in sanitary bins.”

Philippou’s note, first reported by the Evening Standard, blamed the incidents on a “minority of colleagues” across the near 4,000-strong workforce but warned their bad manners and habits could not continue.

“I did think long and hard about whether to disclose all these behaviours because they are so distasteful and shameful but keeping quiet has not got us far in terms of changing … This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated here.”

It is an embarrassing admission by the City regulator, which is headed up by Andrew Bailey, believed to be a top contender in the race to replace the the Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney.

The FCA made its long-awaited move from Canary Wharf, which had been its home since the 1990s, last summer. But within weeks of moving to its new headquarters near east London’s Olympic Park, the regulator was plagued by water supply issues, and was forced to send hundreds of staff home after water dried up in the building’s toilets.

Fitting out the 15-floor building cost the watchdog, which is funded by member fees, around £60m.

The FCA said in a statement: “There has been a small number of incidents of bad behaviour towards our colleagues and building. We have a duty as an employer to highlight this sort of poor behaviour and our senior management are very clear it is simply unacceptable.

“We value all of our staff and it is only right that we call out poor behaviour when we see it. Judging from the feedback we have received on the article, our staff agree.”