PracticeConsultingGovernment to publish LLP Bill

Government to publish LLP Bill

The government will publish a bill within the next fortnight setting out the framework for limited liability partnerships to head off moves by some Big Five firms to register offshore, reports Phillip Inman.

Senior figures in the profession described the proposals as an ‘acceptable compromise’ that would allow firms to protect their assets in return for greater disclosure of financial information.

An LLP bill is expected to be included in the Queen’s speech and fast-tracked with three other non-political bills to be law by spring.

The Department of Trade and Industry confirmed it would publish the bill in the next two weeks after ministers had finalised details. It follows 18 months’ consultation and hundreds of submissions to industry minister Ian McCartney.

Accountancy firms are set to jump at the chance of switching to LLPs, following their US counterparts which gained LLP status in 1994. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, which threatened to register offshore to Jersey, are expected to be first in line.

The bill would mean only a firm’s assets and those of negligent partners would be at risk in a damages claim, cutting risk to non-negligent partners.

Colin Ives, managing partner of Smith & Williamson, was keen to adopt LLP status.

‘It is a sensible vehicle to trade through, because you are in a better position to protect your assets,’ he said.

But Chantrey Vellacott partner Maurice Fitzpatrick expected his firm to judge the perception of risk and level of personal injury insurance cover against the requirement to publish company-style accounts.

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