News 2017

Professional Standards

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has published a third Consultation Paper on the latest proposals for changes required to comply with the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). This consultation follows on from two previous consultations, CP17/7 and CP17/23, with further proposals on how the FCA plans to implement the IDD in the UK. The IDD replaces the Insurance Mediation Directive. It aims to enhance consumer protection when buying insurance (including general insurance, life insurance and insurance-based investment products) and to support competition between insurance distributors by creating a level playing field. Responses to the third Consultation Paper are requested by 25 November 2017.

Nov 03, 2017
Professional Standards

The Financial Conduct Authority (UK) is consulting on proposals for recovering the costs of establishing and running the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS). In March 2017 the government announced its intention to create OPBAS within the FCA, from where it will oversee the adequacy of the anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory arrangements of the 22 professional body AML supervisors listed in Schedule 1 of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the MLRs). This Consultation sets out the FCA’s proposals for recovering the costs of running OPBAS from the professional bodies it will supervise. The proposals cover: Application fees for reviewing and processing applications received from professional bodies who wish to be added to the list of professional body supervisors in Schedule 1 to the MLRs. A structure for periodic fees to recover the annual costs of supervision. Responses to the Consultation are requested by 8 January 2018.

Nov 03, 2017
Professional Standards

The Insolvency Service has published a Summary of Responses following a review of bonding (security) arrangements for insolvency practitioners. The original Call for Evidence was published in September 2016 to help the Government decide whether legislative change is required. Further discussions are continuing with the Recognised Professional Bodies, Insurers and the Insolvency Service.

Nov 03, 2017
Press release

Institute cautions appropriate resources and expertise required to effect change Chartered Accountants Ireland (‘the Institute’) has today welcomed the forthcoming publication of the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill, 2017 as the final piece in the regulatory framework for supervising statutory auditors, particularly auditors of so-called ‘public interest entities’. The Bill forms part of the Government’s package of reforms aimed at combatting ‘white collar’ crime. The new Bill originates from EU legislation introduced in 2014 and which was partially implemented in Ireland in mid-2016.  The Bill contains measures aimed at underpinning the Irish Auditing and Accounting Authority (‘IAASA’) as the single competent authority in the State for the regulation and supervision of statutory audit and auditors while at the same time, overseeing how the Recognised Accountancy Bodies (‘RABs’) discharge those obligations conferred on them by the new legislation.  Commenting on the proposed legislation, Aidan Lambe, Director, Professional Standards at the Institute said: “The Institute and IAASA share a common interest in ensuring public confidence in statutory audit and in the conduct of statutory audit firms. In that regard, it is imperative that the legislation is clear as regards the respective roles and responsibilities of IAASA and the RABs and that the structures it establishes provide appropriate public confidence. The Institute will be examining the legislation against this benchmark and commenting to DBEI in due course. However, critical to its effectiveness will be a commitment by all relevant parties to ensuring appropriate resources and expertise are made available to fulfil a complex and challenging function.” Commenting on the wider package, Mr Lambe said: “The Institute has long argued that Ireland’s laws regarding white collar crime and corruption are unduly complex and spread over too wide a range of different pieces of legislation including company law, criminal justice legislation, financial services legislation and tax law. The number of government departments and agencies party to today’s announcement demonstrates this. Creating a future joined up approach, while very much welcome, represents a significant challenge for legislators which should not be underestimated. The future success of this initiative will depend on the commitment of adequate resources to allow for the building out of relevant knowledge and expertise at an appropriately high level and also the ability of the range of government departments and agencies involved to work together and avoid any potential for interdepartmental rivalries.” See original release ENDS For reference: Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 8664501

Nov 02, 2017
Anti-money Laundering

Chartered Accountants Ireland (‘the Institute’) has today argued that new measures aimed at harmonising how professional bodies supervise compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) requirements represent only a “job half done”. The UK Government is proposing the establishment of a new State supervisory body – OPBAS ( Office for Professional Body Anti-money laundering Supervision) - which will be tasked with supervising how the twenty two professional bodies, including the legal and conveyancing professions, referenced in new anti-money laundering legislation supervise how their members in public practice – accountants, lawyers, insolvency professionals – comply with the new UK AML regime which took effect from June of this year. Commenting on the establishment of OPBAS, Aidan Lambe, Director, Professional Standards at Chartered Accountants Ireland said: “The Institute, in common with all of the professional bodies within the scope of these new proposals, recognises the important role that our professions have in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. We are also supportive of the key purpose for the establishment of OPBAS as we believe strongly in a supervisory regime that is consistent, fair, proportionate and risk based, having regard to the public interest.  However, the current approach is unlikely to achieve this, at least within the accountancy sector, as it ignores AML supervision of those ‘accountants’ who do not belong to a particular professional accountancy body. While such accountants are subject to supervision by HMRC for AML compliance, they are not required to comply with the same rigorous technical, ethical and general practice standards required by professional accountancy bodies.  And since HMRC supervision is outside the scope of OPBAS, there is a real risk of the emergence of regulatory arbitrage and supervision shopping. The potential for resulting inconsistencies in how the accounting profession is supervised and the standards to which its members are held defeats one of the original underlying reasons for the establishment of OPBAS in the first place.  The Institute’s submission on the establishment of OPBAS also raises concerns on the absence of any detailed information on how its funding costs will be met and identifies further concerns expressed by smaller accounting firms in particular. Mr Lambe commented: “The regulated accounting profession is being asked to fund a supervisory mechanism that is not fit for purpose and which will drive inconsistent supervision. Government therefore should give further thought to this and bring forward an alternative model that will address this concern. “For the most part, we believe that the susceptibility of our practising firms to being used as a front for criminal activity is low.  However, we are concerned that the expectations of regulators such as OPBAS regarding the implementation and application of the new UK AML provisions may have a disproportionate impact on small accounting firms. It is incumbent on all supervisory and regulatory agencies to have regard to the proportionality provisions that exist within AML legislation.” ENDS REF:  Aidan Lambe, Director of Professional Standards, Chartered Accountants Ireland, M:  +353 87 2445102. NOTE TO EDITORS: Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland's largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute currently represents 25,500 members around the world and over 4,000 members in Northern Ireland.

Aug 17, 2017

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