Foundation chief named

Lord Gordon Borrie QC, former head of the Office of Fair Trading, has been appointed chief watchdog of the new independent regulatory regime for accountants.

In a move that will end deccades of self-regulation by the profession, he has been appointed chairman of the Foundation, the body that will oversee the new regime.

The group, from which practising accountants are barred, was due to meet for the first time yesterday. It has until the end of the year to set up an extensive new structure to control ethics, auditing, and the investigation and discipline of accountants.

The establishment of the new regime follows years of negotiations between accountancy bodies and the government. The new structure will begin operating at the beginning of next year.

Lord Borrie, 68, told Accountancy Age: ‘This is a very firm commitment by the various accountancy bodies to fulfill their own and the government’s wishes to ensure a satisfactory relationship exists between accountants and their clients, and that their ethical and practising standards are of the highest standard.’ Of his own appointment he said: ‘A very strong independent element is being introduced.’

One of the first duties of the Foundation will be to authorise a public announcement of its membership, which has been kept under wraps ahead of yesterday’s meeting.

But other members of the Foundation are thought to include David Gilchrist, former Halifax company secretary, David Chynoweth, former CIPFA president and Dr Liam O’Reilly, assistant director general of the Bank of Ireland.

Members are nominated by consumer and business groups and financial institutions.

National Audit Office head Sir John Bourn, who had been tipped to be chairman, is now expected to head up the Review Board – the body that will scrutinise the new structure.

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