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FCA staff report hundreds of laptops, tablets and mobiles lost or stolen over three years

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  • 16/07/2021
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FCA staff report hundreds of laptops, tablets and mobiles lost or stolen over three years
Staff at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have reported hundreds of electronic devices lost or stolen over the past three years, a Freedom of Information request by Griffin Law found.

 

The breakdown of 323 laptops, tablets, desktops and mobile phones going missing in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 included 123 tablets in the most recent year.

The estimated cost of the misplaced devices was pegged at £310,660.

The losses add expense to the FCA, which is funded entirely by the fees it charges to the firms it regulates.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “It seems beyond belief that one in ten employees could have lost their device or had it stolen in the last three years. It might be that when they gave all their employees tablet devices they did not work well and the only way to have it replaced was for it to be ‘lost or stolen’.

“In our meetings, their staff continue to have connectivity and camera issues that we do not find with our member firms. It seems to be something the senior team at the FCA need to address,” he added.

The AMI warned last month that the rising cost of regulation to broking firms could force some brokers to exit the market. The slew of increases included changes to periodic and application fees, a new levy on principle firms for appointed representatives, rises to Financial Ombudsman Service levies and case fees and increases to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme levy.

Additionally, lost electronic devices represent potential data security breaches.

The FCA said: “We have strong security measures in place to ensure that data is protected in the event that a device is lost or stolen, including Bring Your Own Devices. We use encryption to protect information on FCA devices and two-factor authentication to ensure only authorised individuals can access the FCA’s network. We have clear processes to ensure losses are reported in a timely manner and access to the FCA network through that device is revoked remotely as soon as a loss is reported.”

It added: “Staff are also trained to not store sensitive data on their devices, to minimise the risk of data being exposed.”

Donal Blaney, founder of Griffin Law, the niche litigation firm which submitted the Freedom of Information request, said: “There can be no excuse for such carelessness by FCA staff with such expensive gadgets.”

The FCA has a duty to report certain incidents to the Information Commissioner within 72 hours under data protection rules.

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