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Insolvency Service issues reprimand to ICAEW

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 30 Jun 2023

The Insolvency Service has reprimanded ICAEW for not monitoring whether Adrian Duncan, an insolvency practitioner based in London who had been prohibited from taking on any new insolvency appointments, was adhering to those restrictions.

The Insolvency Service also considered that ICAEW had not taken adequate steps to ensure that any estate funds Mr Duncan was managing were subject to the appropriate financial controls. It is alleged that Mr Duncan subsequently absconded with nearly £4m in estate funds.

“While the vast majority of licensed Insolvency Practitioners work to a high standard, where failings are identified and there is wrongdoing we will not hesitate to act. The public needs to have confidence in the regulatory regime, and it is important for lessons to be taken from this case,” said Claire Hardgrave, Head of Insolvency Practitioner Regulation Section at the Insolvency Service.

“We take our role as a regulator extremely seriously and always seek to act in the public interest,” responded ICAEW CEO, Michael Izza. “The conduct of Adrian Duncan during the events in question is unprecedented in our 37 years as an insolvency regulator. He deceived ICAEW, his clients and his colleagues and we have enormous sympathy for those affected by his shocking behaviour.”

He continued: “Although we acted at all times in accordance with the information made available to us, we accept, as the Insolvency Service says, that there are lessons to learn from this case. We are also implementing a series of changes to our regulatory processes to increase transparency around our proceedings so that more information is available to members of the public.”

ICAEW is one of the four Recognised Professional Bodies (RPB) which regulates licenced Insolvency Practitioners in Great Britain. The Insolvency Service said it was the first time it has exercised such powers against an RPB. 

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