Yesterday the FRC announced the appointment of Gareth Rees QC to the position of Executive Counsel to the Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB). He will take up this role on 12 March 2012.
Mr Rees QC is a highly experienced regulatory lawyer, who has defended and prosecuted in corporate crime and regulatory proceedings. Commenting on his appointment, FRC Chief Executive Stephen Haddrill said “his experience will be an enormous asset and will significantly help expedite disciplinary cases in a proportionate and timely manner.”
The AADB has a heavy workload investigating and ‘prosecuting’ complex disciplinary cases against the members of the accountancy profession. With so much at stake for firms under investigation, they will field experienced regulatory and disciplinary lawyers to defend their positions and where possible negotiate proportionate settlements. Regulators and professional disciplinary bodies must match this level of expertise.
Mr Rees’ appointment to lead the AADB is similar to the steps taken by other regulators to appoint senior corporate crime litigators. For example in 2009 the FSA appointed David Kirk as its new Chief Criminal Counsel. Mr Kirk was the former Director of the Fraud Prosecution Service of the CPS. Following his appointment, the FSA successfully prosecuted a number of difficult insider dealing cases.
The AADB (which forms part of the FRC) is the independent, investigative and disciplinary body for accountants and actuaries in the UK. It is responsible for operating and administering independent disciplinary schemes for these professions. The Accountancy Scheme covers Members of the following accountants’ professional bodies:- the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The Actuarial Scheme covers Members of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (formerly the Institute of Actuaries) and the Faculty of Actuaries (prior to its merger with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries).