BusinessCompany NewsDTI confirms accountancy regulation

DTI confirms accountancy regulation

The Department of Trade and Industry has moved to allay fears over the regulation of accountants and their anti-money laundering obligations.

Melanie Johnson, minister for competition, consumers and markets at the DTI, said it will be the Accountancy Foundation that will investigate and discipline ‘cases which raise significant public interest issues’.

Accountants are currently obliged by law to report knowledge or suspicion of drug or terrorist money laundering activities. However, next year, the introduction of the DTI’s Foundation, the new regulatory body, will end years of self-regulation.

But, new legislation – the Proceeds of Crime Bill, which is currently before parliament and a second European money laundering directive – will consolidate and strengthen existing anti-money laundering laws and the duties of accountants to aid the fight against money laundering.

The responsibility to guarantee accountants comply with these duties will lie with the new Investigation and Disciplinary Board, a subsidiary of the Foundation.

Johnson said: ‘Under reforms previously agreed between the [accountancy] bodies and the government, a new Investigation and Discipline Board, under the aegis of the Accountancy Foundation, will take over responsibility for disciplinary cases which raise significant public interest issues.’

However, the new board is not expected to be fully functional until next Autumn due to legal issues. ‘It’s unfortunate but unavoidable,’ Chris Wobschall, secretary to the Foundation, told AccountancyAge.com.

The existing watchdog, the Joint Disciplinary Scheme, will continue its work until the IDB is established. ICAS and the ICAEW have to de-construct the JDS before the institutes commit to the new board.

The main difference between the JDS and the new board will be that the IDB will be able to act proactively.

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