FRC proposes joint tribunals for accountants and actuaries

JOINT TRIBUNALS will be conducted in future disciplinary cases involving wrongdoing in both the accountancy and actuarial professions, under FRC plans.

The proposals, which are currently out for consultation, aim to “enhance the efficiency and effectiveness” of proceedings, the watchdog said.

Following the changes, the FRC’s conduct committee could order a five-person tribunal to consider complaints under both schemes simultaneously, provided they relate to the same facts or matter. The panel considering the allegations will comprise a lawyer as chairman, at least one lay person and a representative for each profession.

In the event misconduct is proven, sanctions can only be imposed against accountancy members or member firms under the accountancy scheme. Actuarial members can only be penalised under the relevant professional framework.

‘Co-ordination’

The FRC said a single hearing, rather than two, “would promote consistency of regulation and co-ordinated resolution of disciplinary cases”.

Costs should “tend to reduce” as a result of joint hearings, rather than rise, but it is not anticipated these costs will be halved, the body said. Any costs relating to the hearing will be shared by the relevant funding bodies, passing savings on to institutes’ members, as well as the pensions and insurance industry in the case of actuarial cases, the FRC added.

The organisation has previously been criticised for the time it takes to investigate alleged wrongdoing, in addition to the level of fines imposed. Changes were made to its disciplinary process last year to take into account firms’ revenues when setting fines, leading to a £14m penalty against Deloitte for its work on MG Rover’s 2000 accounts.

The consultation on the latest amendments will run to 16 July.

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