FRC’s annual report points to change

CHANGES ARE AFOOT at the Financial Reporting Council and its recently published annual report 2010-11 indicates that the regulator is looking to shake up its workload.

The FRC said it is “considering … whether some elements of [its] current activities can be dispensed with altogether”; at the same time, it is examining whether its powers are “adequate and appropriate” to fulfil its core responsibilities.

Experts have been suggesting for some months that the FRC is gearing up for a strategic review; one observer said it might swap its independent quango status for direct government control, potentially benefiting from a bigger budget and greater powers.

Roger Marshall, chairman of sub-body the Accounting Standards Board, dismissed this idea but told Accountancy Age: “I think everyone has started thinking about what lessons can be learnt from the financial crisis and its aftermath.”

FRC chairman Baroness Hogg (pictured) used the annual review to underline the past year’s achievements, including a new Corporate Governance Code and a consultation on effective company stewardship.

“Our key challenge for the coming year will be to weave the disparate activities of the FRC into two functional strands: one concerned with the setting of codes and standards, the other with the conduct of companies and professionals,” she concluded.

The FRC also announced the date of its 2012 annual open meeting, to be held at 16:00 on 28 February; stakeholders are invited to submit topics for discussion in advance.

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