FSA’s support for finance academy is misjudged

I was interested to read that the Fin-ancial Services Authority is backing a financial services academy for disadvantaged youngsters (Mortgage Strategy February 25).

The facility is being operated by the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation in partnership with several banks including HSBC, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch.

The curriculum has also been developed in conjunction with banks and is designed to focus on practical skills as well as providing courses leading to CeMAP and CeFA qualifications.

The regulator has voiced its support for the academy, saying that it will provide the financial services industry with enthusiastic entrants from a variety of backgrounds.

Is this such a great idea? Call me a cynic but it seems to me it is a good way to ensure that FSA staff keep their jobs in perpetuity.

Think about it – you take kids who may not be academic but are savvy with money from the worst areas of the country and teach them how to enter the world of financial services.

So kids who may be happily making money in a streetwise manner in the black economy are encouraged to work in areas close to those the FSA is supposed to stand against – fraud, theft and money laundering.

Is this counter-intuitive to everyone or is it just me?

The FSA has a statutory obligation to promote confidence in the financial services sector but by supporting this academy, it seems it is preparing to cheer on the training of the next generation of Nick Leesons.

It seems the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum.

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