Regulation of firms under fire in Commons

Speaking in Commons, the Newcastle upon Tyne Central representative said: ‘I think the government sold the pass in the last parliament by giving the profession limited liability and not asking for more in terms of regulation in return.

‘Instead the government will have to give the new “independent” regulation system a try with Sir John Bourn wheeled out to give it credibility.

‘I wish the government was going to do more in terms of statutory regulation but I fear it is now too late,’ he said.

Cousins said the ‘only way to do something’ was through chief financial watchdog the Financial Services Authority which he said could bring in fixed terms for auditors and separate the audit and non-audit functions through the listing regulations,

But, he said: ‘Frankly I don’t expect it.’

Cousins said the other major hope was that the government might legislate to regulate the profession at a later date. But he said its close relations with business suggested that too was unlikely.

He added ‘I would like to see more done in this field.’

Both PwC and KPMG will limit their risk when they take on LLP status later this year, following fellow Big Five firm Ernst & Young which made the switch in 2001.

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