ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

ICAEW Regulatory Board

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is responsible for overseeing professional standards activities and the statutory regulatory role of ICAEW.

About the IRB

The role of the board is to initiate and develop strategic priorities pertaining to professional standards regulation such as keeping changes to regulations and bye laws under review and setting regulatory fees. It is not involved with the discipline of ICAEW members or those authorised by ICAEW to undertake regulated activities.

The IRB has regard to the objectives of the profession, as set out in ICAEW’s Royal Charter. It’s expected to have the interests of the public at the forefront of everything it does. To support this, board members are expected to act with independence and avoid conflicts of interest.

The Board ensures the ICAEW Professional Standards Department runs the processes that underpin licensing and disciplinary work effectively and efficiently.

The IRB has twelve members including the chair and is formed of an equal number of lay members (someone who is not and never has been a member, affiliate or employee of ICAEW or any other accountancy body) and non lay members (ICAEW Chartered Accountants).

The current IRB chair is a lay member, Michael Caplan QC.

The chair and IRB members are all appointed using an independent selection process.

Regulating in the public interest: IRB Annual Report 2019

During the past year the IRB has turned its attention to increasing the transparency of its operations. Part of the result of that appraisal is this new-look annual report, in which we explain more about who we are and how we exercise our oversight while looking back on what we have achieved in 2019.The past year has been a very challenging one for the accounting profession and where necessary. We have met these challenges head-on. We also continue to keep under constant review all aspects of the ICAEW Professional Standards Department's work: the complaints procedure; its monitoring of firms; the disciplinary rules and sanction guidance; and other regulations that are essential to ensure the proper running of ICAEW's regulatory and disciplinary processes.

Professional Standards committees

The IRB has general oversight of the performance of the Professional Standards committees. These include the Audit Registration Committee, the Insolvency Licensing Committee, the Investment Business Committee, the Review Committee, the Probate Committee, the Legal Services Committee, the Investigation Committee, the Fitness Committee, the Disciplinary Committee, and the Appeal Committee, the Practice Assurance Committee and the Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee. These committees are not answerable to the IRB for their decisions in individual cases.

Each Professional Standards’ (professional conduct or regulatory) committee has an equal or majority number of lay members (someone who is not/never been a member, affiliate or employee of ICAEW or any other accountancy body). This ensures we carry out our role of maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards within the accountancy profession in a proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and focused manner.

Probate committee

As a condition of ICAEW being an approved regulator and licensing authority for probate under the Legal Services Act 2007, there are different arrangements for the Probate Committee to ensure it carries out its regulatory functions independently. The IRB and ICAEW’s Council, Board and committees may not intervene directly in its work. The Probate Committee reports into the Legal Services Board. 

Establishment of the IRB

The IRB was established in 2015 (meeting for the first time in 2016) to enhance the distinction between ICAEW’s representative and regulatory roles following an independent review of ICAEW’s regulatory governance.

The IRB superseded the Professional Standards Board. To enforce the principle of independence within ICAEW’s governance structure which separates regulatory and membership activities, ICAEW office holders, ICAEW Board and council members are not allowed to sit on the IRB or regulatory and disciplinary committees.

IRB board members

The current IRB board members are:

Michael Caplan Michael Caplan QC Chair
Lay member

Michael has recently retired as a solicitor, having been a senior partner at an internationally-known law firm for 30 years. He is one of the few solicitors to have been appointed Queen's Counsel. Michael also sits judicially as a Recorder in the Crown Court and is authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge.

He is the first chair of the IRB and helped to set up the board and recruit its members. He brings his experience and regulatory knowledge to the IRB; he is never frightened to inquire and, if necessary, challenge, and will always discuss what is in the best interests of transparency and governance of ICAEW.             

Michael is a member of the Regulatory Appointments Panel.

Philip Nicol-Gent Philip Nicol-Gent Vice-Chair
Lay member

Philip Nicol-Gent was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1991 and worked in private practice until 2000 when he moved to Guernsey to work for the Attorney-General. He was called to the Guernsey Bar in 2003 after studying at L'Université de Caen, France. While working at the Attorney-General's Chambers, Philip advised the Government and Guernsey Financial Services Commission on the purchase of the Guernsey Airline, Aurigny and led on the administration and ultimate liquidation of Landsbanki (Guernsey) Ltd.

Philip has also held appointments from the Royal Court in significant cases as an amicus curiae. Between 2009 and 2012 he was a Delegate of HM Solicitor-General. In 2011 Philip moved to work at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and has been its General Counsel since 2013.

Steve Barrow Steve Barrow Lay member

Steve currently pursues a portfolio career and has fulfilled a number of lay member roles with bodies such as the Bar Standards Board, the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. He also maintains an interest in sports administration and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Disciplinary and Grievance Panels of British Fencing (the sport’s governing body).

Steve has held senior positions in a variety of regulatory bodies. Most recently he was director of standards at Standards for England, having previously been head of regulation at The Football Association, head of monitoring at the General Insurance Standards Council and head of investment business at the Law Society of England and Wales.

Steve will use his experience, gained in both hands-on and oversight capacities, to help ensure that ICAEW’s regulatory regime remains consistent with the principles of good regulation.

David Chitty David Chitty Non-lay member

David is International Accounting & Audit Director of Crowe Global. Prior to taking this appointment in 2010, David was an audit partner with the UK member firm.

David was a member of the Council of the ICAEW from 2001 until 2013 and a member of ICAEW’s Audit Committee from 2010 to 2015. David has served as President of his ICAEW District Society. He represented ICAEW as the UK member of the IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) Small & Medium Practices (SMP) Committee from 2007 until 2012. David is currently an elected member of the IFAC Transnational Auditors’ Committee (TAC).

Christine Fraser Christine Fraser Lay member

Christine is a solicitor who has held a range of senior management positions and nonexecutive board roles. Her early career was as a solicitor in local authorities. In more recent years she has worked for professional regulators as a member of senior management teams and has also been a member of a number of professional regulatory boards.

Christine is currently employed as an Ombudsman at the Financial Ombudsman Service. She also sits as an Appeal Panel Member for the Single Source Regulations Office, a regulator in the defence sector.

Andrew Goldsworthy Andrew Goldsworthy Non-lay member

Andrew is the Head of Audit of Mazars in the UK and a member of Mazars’ Group Independence and Acceptance Committee. He has over 30 years’ experience of delivering audit services to a portfolio of clients, specialising in those in the financial services industry. He has also been engaged on a number of expert witness assignments.

In his role at Mazars and through his client responsibilities, Andrew has significant exposure to regulators from the perspective of the regulated entity. As an auditor, he is acutely aware that the audit profession needs to act with integrity and deliver quality to maintain (and some would say, regain) the trust of the public. He believes effective regulation is an essential element in how trust is built.

Ian Leigh Ian Leigh Lay member

Ian is currently a statutory regulator of legal services in the field of immigration. He is an Immigration Services Commissioner, ensuring the fitness and competence of advisers, handling complaints and prosecuting those who act illegally. As a corporation sole and accounting officer, Ian holds responsibility for all aspects of corporate governance.

Ian has wide experience of management and policy delivery in the public sector with his later career focusing on regulation and consumer protection. After running the Regulatory Impact Unit in the former Department of Trade and Industry, Ian spent several years as managing director of the Consumer Council for Postal Services, championing the interests of all users throughout the UK.

In addition to his work on immigration, Ian is active in the further education sector and he advises the Irish communications regulator on postal consumer issues. His priority is therefore to ensure that the IRB protects the public interest.

 Ian Leigh Thomas Palm Non-lay member

Since qualifying as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant with PwC UK, Thomas has been working as an audit manager at a large Japanese financial group in Amsterdam, helping it strengthen its internal governance framework and develop a sustainable business model in EMEA. In this role, he has had significant exposure to regulators, most notably the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the European Banking Authority (EBA).

Especially in light of the array of societal challenges we are currently facing, Thomas aims to leverage on his diverse background and bring new insights to the IRB by not being afraid to challenge, and ensure that public trust and the reputation of chartered accountants are maintained.

 Asif Patel Asif Patel Non-lay member

Asif trained with Arthur Andersen and qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in 2001. Since then he has worked in the banking sector within Internal Audit. Asif is currently a managing director within UBS’s Internal Audit department, where he has held various roles both in the UK and Switzerland.

Asif is also a trustee of the Whitgift Foundation, a large charity based in South London and is a governor at its three schools and chair of the Whitgift Foundation's Governance & External Relations Committee. In 2019 Asif joined ICAEW's district society in Croydon and leads its community liaison efforts.

Asif wants to use his skillset to ensure ICAEW maintains the highest levels of professional standards, in what is a challenging period for the industry.

Michael Sufrin Michael Sufrin Non-lay member

Mike was director of tax at Rolls-Royce for 19 years where he was responsible for the group’s tax affairs worldwide. He retired in 2011 and continued as a consultant for a further year.

He was chair of the Midlands Corporate Tax Group, a member of the LBS and Business Tax forums, the EU joint transfer pricing forum, the CBI tax committee and the ICAEW international tax committee. In 2011 he received HMRC’s External Engagement Award for advancing transparency in tax.

Before joining Rolls-Royce, he held similar posts with other UK multinationals and was a partner in the Birmingham office of Arthur Young for five years.

Mike believes passionately in the importance of effective regulation to ensure public confidence in the accountancy profession and ICAEW, of which he has been a proud member for over 40 years.

Jane Titley Jane Titley Non-lay member

Jane is a Fellow of ICAEW and has 30 years of experience in accountancy, having been on leadership teams in a number of areas including audit, IT, restructuring, regulation, and quality and risk management. She is currently Head of Audit Regulation at KPMG.

Jane feels it is important to give back to the profession and has sat on various ICAEW committees including, most recently, the Disciplinary Committee. As a member of the IRB, she wants to help ensure her profession is held in high repute locally and internationally, and continues to be one the most talented young people are proud to join.

Jane is a member of the London Society of Chartered Accountants’ Regulation and Ethics Review Panel.

Ann Wright Ann Wright Lay member

Ann was a partner at the law firm Nabarro for over 20 years then, from 2009 until July 2017, she was chief executive of the Intellectual Property Regulation Board, which regulates patent and trade mark attorneys. Here she dealt with the same issues that ICAEW faces: regulation in the public interest (and keeping public trust) and supporting an internationally-respected profession where strong regulation is at the core of reputation.

One of Ann’s roles within IRB is to ensure that it clearly communicates its role and work to all its stakeholders: the public, the profession, government and other regulatory bodies.

Terms of Reference

The IRB’s terms of reference set out the role and responsibilities of the IRB and contains practical information on how the IRB operates, for example its quorum. The terms of reference also detail the powers delegated to the IRB and the powers the IRB itself has delegated to other committees.


The meeting dates for 2020 are:

12 February
23 April
17 June
4 August
6 October

Record of Decisions

2016 2017 2018 2019