Hundred Group chief reveals costs fears

Ken Lever

Ken Lever: costs should not be an issue

A senior UK finance director has stepped into the row over the disciplinary
board’s proposal to hold off paying costs to defendants against whom it cannot
prove charges.

The Accountancy and
Actuarial Discipline Board
’s proposals to change the rules, ­ which include
bringing accountants and FDs before a tribunal for transgressing guidance and
not just rules, ­ have upset firms, which have held joint talks on the matter.

Ken Lever, chairman of the financial reporting committee of the Hundred Group
of Finance Directors, believes the ‘accused’ should be in a position to mount a
defence without worrying about the costs.

‘However, the FRC will ensure costs are met for defendants that do not have
the means to pay. That said, it is concerning that an action could be brought
and lost by the FRC, yet the defendant picks up the costs,’ he said.

The regulator has hit out at firms that said the AADB was creating an
environment ‘in which it can’t lose’.

‘There is a public interest in a regulator being able to bring cases that
need to be brought… and not fear ruinous costs if it loses. The Court of Appeal
has stated that the normal concept of “loser pays” does not apply in regulatory
cases,’ the FRC said.

Related reading

PwC office 2