Pampered in the public sector

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Is it really a good idea to quit the cosy public sector for the cut and thrust of private sector financial services? We think not.

Both the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) have been leaking staff to nasty private sector employers offering bountiful pay packages. Earlier this week it emerged (via Financial News) that the FSA lost Chris Rexworthy, the man responsible for setting up its hedge fund practice to IMS Consulting, a purveyor of compliance advice to hedge funds.

Meanwhile, the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is also said to be struggling to keep wayward staff within the confines of her petticoats - according to Bloomberg, the Bank is suffering an exodus of staff from its monetary analysis and financial stability areas. Starting salaries for PhDs at the bank are said to be 37k. Bloomberg reports that the average for an economist working in an investment bank last year was 111k.

But before you rush to take advantage of all those extra tens of thousands, it may be worth giving consideration to what you're missing.

We can't speak for the Bank of England, but Edward Chen, compliance consultant at recruitment firm PSD Group, says the FSA, for one, does a mean benefits package: "The FSA gives very good benefits and pays salaries that are comparable with some investment banks," he says. "A compliance professional with four to seven years' experience could be on 50k to 75k, plus a flexible benefits package worth anything from an additional 7k to 12k cash equivalent." According to Chen, this is supplemented by 30 days' holiday (with the option to buy more), a good pension scheme, working days that run from 9.30am to 5pm, and the wonders of a casual dress code.

Unfortunately, some FSA compliance staff currently enjoying this cushy number may be in for a rude awakening. While the Bank of England is making painful noises about losing valuable economists, it seems the regulator is chopping dead wood: "They have a slight over-supply of staff in some areas," says Chen.

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