Britain's securities watchdog said it plans to raise employees pay 4.5 percent this year, more than double the rate of inflation.
The Financial Services Authority, which today set out its annual business plan for 2006/2007 said it's also seeking a 4 percent increase in its total budget to 276 million pounds ($491 million), compared with 267 million pounds last year.
The watchdog is seeking an increase as it reforms its enforcement process and pays staff more to keep the brightest from moving to the financial-services firms it oversees. The FSA plans to recruit 60 trainees to its graduate program in 2006, compared with 11 in 2000.
The regulator said it will cut costs by 7 million pounds in the year ahead, partly through job cuts.
``I anticipate we will be able to meet our strategic aims and statutory objectives with fewer people than we currently employ,'' said John Tiner, chief executive of the FSA in the business plan. ``This will be achieved through natural attrition and effective implementation of our performance management system.''
Tiner said the regulator will continue to monitor firms and the markets assuming the same level of risk as last year. The FSA will focus on implementing a European investment directive called the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and known as Mifid.
The directive, which will alter the way banks and financial-services companies work in the region, will probably be unveiled next week, the EU's internal market and services commissioner said yesterday, bringing the 25-nation bloc a step closer to a single financial-services market.
The FSA also will focus on improving the financial capability of retail investors and crack down on those who break its rules, Tiner said.
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