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ICAEW regulatory board appoints new chair

Author: ICAEW

Published: 14 Jan 2022

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) has today announced the appointment of Philip Nicol-Gent as its new chair.

Philip will begin his role with immediate effect following the resignation of Jenny Watson CBE, who has stepped down for unforeseen personal reasons after just two months in post.
The appointment of Philip was approved by the Regulatory and Conduct Appointments Committee.

Philip has been a member of the IRB since 2016 and vice-chair since 2017 so has a clear understanding of the role and the effective functioning of the Board. He is also a highly experienced lawyer having been called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1991 and the Guernsey Bar in 2003.

Philip Nicol-Gent, incoming chair of the IRB, said:

"I am looking forward to my time as Chair of the IRB. The public interest has been at the heart of the Board's deliberations. As changes across the accountancy sector unfold over the coming months, we will make sure the IRB plays a central role and ensures that the public interest is reflected in that work.”

Jenny Watson CBE, outgoing chair of the IRB, said:

“I’m sorry to have had to stand aside from this role but delighted to hear that the Regulatory and Conduct Appointments Committee has asked Philip to succeed me. I know he will do an excellent job and I send him and the IRB my good wishes for the future.”

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is an independent board responsible for oversight of the regulatory and disciplinary work undertaken by ICAEW’s Professional Standards Department, to ensure it is carried out in the public interest.

The board, which has parity of lay and chartered accountant members, was established in 2015 to enhance the distinction between ICAEW’s representative and regulatory roles following an independent review of its regulatory governance in 2014.

More information about the IRB can be found here.


Notes to editors:

Philip Nicol-Gent biography

Philip is a highly experienced lawyer having been called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1991. He practised as a barrister until 2000 when he moved to Guernsey to work for the Attorney-General. He was called to the Guernsey Bar in 2003 and has since acted for both the Government and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission as well as holding appointments from the Royal Court as an amicus curiae in complex cases.

In 2011, Philip moved to the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, holding the positions of Regulatory Director and later General Counsel. He now works for the Commission on a part-time basis as a Senior Counsel. Philip was also a delegate of HM Solicitor-General for Guernsey between 2009 and 2012. In 2021, Philip joined the Audit Committee of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Regulatory & Conduct Appointments Committee

The Regulatory & Conduct Appointments Committee (RACAC) is responsible, under powers delegated to it by the ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB), for dealing with all matters relating to the appointment, performance evaluations and remuneration of chairs and members of the IRB and the Regulatory and Disciplinary Committees and Reviewers of Complaints. The RACAC reports to the IRB on its activities but is independent of the IRB. The current chair of the RACAC is Sara Nathan OBE.

ICAEW’s role as an improvement regulator

We protect the public interest by making sure ICAEW’s firms, members, students and affiliates maintain the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.

ICAEW’s regulatory and disciplinary roles are separated from ICAEW’s other activities so that we can monitor, support or take steps to ensure change if standards are not met. These roles are carried out by the Professional Standards Department and overseen by the independent ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB).

Our role is to:

  • authorise ICAEW firms, members and affiliates to undertake work regulated by law: audit, local audit, investment business, insolvency and probate;
  • support the highest professional standards in general accountancy practice through our Practice Assurance scheme;
  • provide robust anti-money laundering supervision and monitoring;
  • monitor ICAEW firms and insolvency practitioners to ensure they operate correctly and to the highest standards;
  • investigate complaints and hold ICAEW firms and members to account where they fall short of standards;
  • respond and comment on proposed changes to the law and regulation; and
  • educate through guidance and advice to help stakeholders comply with laws, regulations and professional standards.


There are more than 1.8m chartered accountants and students around the world and 186,500 of them are members and students of ICAEW. They are talented, ethical and committed professionals, which is why all of the top 100 Global Brands employ chartered accountants.

ICAEW promotes inclusivity, diversity and fairness. We attract talented individuals into the profession and give them the skills and values they need to build resilient businesses, economies and societies, while ensuring our planet’s resources are managed sustainably.

Founded in 1880, we have a long history of serving the public interest and we continue to work with governments, regulators and business leaders around the world. And, as an improvement regulator, we supervise and monitor over 12,000 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.
ICAEW is proud to be part of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global network of 750,000 members across 190 countries, which promotes the expertise and skills of chartered accountants on a global basis.

We believe that chartered accountancy can be a force for positive change. By sharing our insight, expertise and understanding we can help to create strong economies and a sustainable future for all.

*Source: CAW, 2020 – Interbrand, Best Global Brands 2019