The number of man-hours the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has dedicated to Brexit has gone well past the 300,000 mark, Investment Week’s sister title Professional Adviser has learned.

A freedom of information (FOI) request submitted by PA found that, since April 2017, when it first sought funds from the industry for Brexit, through to the end of February this year, the FCA spent 316,000 hours on Brexit activity.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, 72,000 hours were dedicated to Brexit. Then, from April 2018 to February 2019, a further 244,000 hours were spent preparing to leave the European Union (EU).

A previous PA FOI request on Brexit in November 2018 revealed the FCA had spent 175,000 hours on Brexit up to that point, meaning the financial watchdog has dedicated some 141,000 man hours – the equivalent of 5,875 days – across the last four months towards the UK’s exit from the EU.

PA can also reveal the equivalent of 182 full-time staff members are working on Brexit-related activities at the FCA – however, that figure does not include a “significant” number of people from across the regulator who spend some of their time on Brexit.

A total of 67 additional staff have been employed to work on EU withdrawal-related issues since April 2018. This does not include staff who have been redeployed internally.

Exiting the EU has cost the regulator more than £11m so far. The FCA has funded this in part by raising additional fees of £7.5m, with a focus on the firms that are most likely to be affected by EU withdrawal.

The UK was meant to leave the EU today (29 March). However, the majority of MPs have not backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and as such, the deadline has been missed.

Later on today, there will be a third so-called ‘meaningful vote’ on May’s Brexit deal. As it stands, if MPs back the deal, the UK will leave the EU on 22 May. If her deal fails to gain backing from the House, however, the UK risks crashing out of the EU on 12 April with no deal.

That said, in the unpredictable and uncertain world of Brexit, it is impossible to know for certain what will happen in the coming weeks.

Prepared for ‘no deal’

An update from the FCA this morning said the financial watchdog was prepared for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

Executive director of international Nausicaa Delfas said: “The documents published today are the final stages in our preparations in the event that the UK leaves the EU without an implementation period.

“They ensure that firms have certainty of the financial regime they will be operating within, and so can plan accordingly to meet the needs of their customers.”

This is reproduced from Investment Week; all views are from the publication. This originally appeared online on 29 March 2019.