The institute said it may ‘take its own path’ on disciplinary matters to ‘protect the public interest’, because it fears that the new Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board (AIDB) will make the process more difficult and expensive.
The institute’s president, Ian Robertson, called on the Financial Reporting Council and the department of trade to reconsider their position on ‘cost-recovery mechanisms’ relating to disciplinary hearings against members.
‘Failure to provide this adds significantly to the risk of the guilty remaining unpunished and free to continue their misdeeds,’ said Robertson.
ICAS is understood to be concerned that it will have to shoulder a greater share of costs than under the previous joint disciplinary scheme.
FRC chief executive Paul Boyle said: ‘We are still in discussion with ICAS and hope we can convince them that the right thing to do for their own members, and the UK profession as a whole, is to sign up to the AIDB.’
The Scottish body has so far held off putting pen to paper, citing fears that the AIDB lacks teeth, particularly the power to compel witnesses to attend disciplinary hearings. But the DTI said that coercive powers against third parties were neither ‘necessary’ nor ‘appropriate’. ‘If it sets up its own scheme, ICAS could not give itself any powers of the sort it is seeking,’ a spokesman added. The ICAS council met on Friday but has yet to announce its decision.
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