ICAEW bans uncooperative practitioner
An ICAEW member has been banned for two years and fined £1,950 for a number of offences, including repeatedly failing to answer correspondence.
A disciplinary tribunal found that Andrew Alexander, from Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, had breached various Institute codes under four heads of complaint.
In its monthly publication of disciplinary orders, the ICAEW said Alexander and his firm, AR Alexander FCA had:
- From 12 January 2013 to 20 May 2013 failed to submit an annual return on behalf of his firm for the period ended 31 July 2012
- From 15 July 2012 and 20 May 2013 he practised without professional indemnity insurance (PII)
- Between 8 June 2012 and 20 May 2013 he failed to respond to the Quality Assurance Department’s (QAD) closing record of findings
- Between 5 September 2012 and 20 May 2013 he failed to respond to a letter from the Practice Assurance Committee (PAC) secretary.
In regard to the non-submission of an annual return, the ICAEW had sent Alexander a copy of the return to complete by 31 August. But when he didn't do so, the Institute, including the PAC secretary, wrote to him every month following until April 2013 but received no response.
Alexander's PII policy was also under dispute due to his non-filing of annual returns. His most recent returns, the ICAEW reported, were dated November 2011 and stated that his PII policy would have expired in July 2012. As the institute wasn't able to confirm whether he had a policy in place after this due to the absence of annual returns, the tribunal found he had "probably" breached its rules on practising without a policy.
The QAD visit in May 2012 had required Alexander to submit closing meeting notes and respond to discussion points by 7 June 2012. The institute received one email explaining he was unwell and would reply at a later date, but got no further correspondence, despite chasing him up in August and September. His case was subsequently referred to the Investigation Committee, with further correspondence informing him of this move.
With no further reply from the accountant by the end of October, the PAC referred the matter for investigation. In May 2013, the ICAEW told Alexander that the four matters had been referred to the IC, who then referred it to the disciplinary committee.
The tribunal found all complaints proven. Aggravating factors included Alexander's previous disciplinary records, the continuity of his failings over long periods of time and QAD's identification of a number of "serious issues" in his practice.