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Accountancy watchdog still waiting to fire up the ARGA

The body due to replace the much-maligned FRC has started to take shape, with new leadership at the helm and recruitment for 80 new staff announced. However, due to parliamentary time pressures, there is still no clear indication of when the new regulator will be able to start work.

11th Oct 2019
Editor AccountingWEB
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With Thomas Cook the latest high-profile failure to raise questions about the role of auditors in the UK market, the new body tasked with tightening controls on the UK audit market has been busy in the recruitment market – even if it has yet to officially break ground.

This week the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) welcomed its new leadership team of Simon Dingemans and Jon Thompson to their respective leadership roles as chair and chief executive.

The accountancy regulator also launched a recruitment campaign for 80 new staff members as it moves to its new guise as the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA)

However, the switch from FRC to ARGA has not been as straightforward as first hoped. It needs a parliamentary law change by way of a statutory instrument, but with Brexit gumming up the machine of government there has been no clear indication given of when this will be passed.

New leadership team takes office

Back in March this year, the government announced it would scrap the FRC following a string of high-profile corporate failures at the likes of BHS, Carillion, and Patisserie Valerie and a number of reports into the body which found it not fit for purpose.

Its replacement, a new, enhanced accounting regulator in the form of ARGA has so far been held back by the Brexit process. But while ARGA is yet to officially arrive, its new leadership team take up office this week. Former HMRC head Jon Thompson replaces departing chief executive Stephen Haddrill, and former chair Win Bischoff makes way for ex-GlaxoSmithKline CFO Simon Dingemans.

In a statement, Thompson said he was pleased to be joining the FRC as it begins its transition to a new regulator, and added that the body would have “stronger powers to hold companies, their directors, advisers and shareholders to account”.

Major recruitment drive

The regulator has also launched a major recruitment drive in anticipation of its expansion. According to a statement on the FRC website, 80 new roles will be created across a variety of departments and levels.

The increase in staff is designed to meet the FRC’s increased supervisory responsibilities, including boosting the body’s enforcement and audit inspection teams as the regulator expands its roles and responsibilities in line with the government’s wishes.

The job advertisements stress “significant opportunities for a broad range of candidates to play a key role working in the public interest on high-profile issues,” and play up the healthy work-life balance available at the FRC, with flexible and agile working arrangements available”.

A link to recruitment videos featuring Jon Thompson and the FRC’s careers page can be found here.

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