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Professional Standards update: December 2021

Author: Professional Standards Department

Published: 06 Dec 2021

This month we talk to the ICAEW special investigations team who are tasked with focusing on the most complex and high profile complaints cases. We also update you with the latest monitoring information following the recent return to onsite reviews, highlight changes to the Probate Regulations and new trust and company services guidance. You can also sign up for our next AML webinar and read the outcomes of the latest disciplinary cases.

2022 fee renewal notices

We have emailed your firm’s fee renewal notices for 2022 to the relevant compliance principal or regulatory contact. Paper copies will not be sent this year. Please check your email inbox and arrange payment by 1 January. Access regulatory fee information

Digging deeper: a more forensic approach to special investigations

The Professional Conduct Department’s Special Investigations Team was set up in March 2021 to focus on the most complex and high profile complaints cases. We talk to them about the need for special investigations, progress so far and why flexibility is so important.

Changes to the disciplinary framework

Look out for our upcoming consultation on changes to the disciplinary framework. While making few substantive changes to the processes themselves, the proposal is to reduce the current number of Disciplinary Bye-laws from 49 to 16 Core bye-laws. The process provisions will be moved out of the bye-laws and into a new comprehensive set of Investigation and Disciplinary Regulations which will also incorporate and merge the individual regulations governing the operation of each of the disciplinary committees.

Access more information on the reasons for the proposed changes

The latest following the recent return to face-to-face monitoring visits

As communicated in July, we have returned to pre-pandemic ways of working including on-site visits.

For firms and practitioners that are in scope for an on-site visit, we find that they provide the best opportunity for high quality interaction between firms and our reviewers and enable the visit to be conducted in the most proportionate and effective manner for all those involved. However, if your firm is not yet equipped to accommodate visitors, we can discuss this, and in some circumstances we may still be able to conduct a remote visit if there is no other safe alternative.

In order for the visit to run as smoothly as possible, it is important for the key principals and staff at the firm to be present during the visit and that all of the information requested is available. The quality assurance reviewer will discuss this with you in advance of the visit to set out expectations and address any concerns.

Audit monitoring visits and FRC oversight

Every year a small number of our audit monitoring visits are shadowed by inspectors from the FRC’s Professional Oversight team. If your visit is selected, we aim to give you as much notice as possible but may only have confirmation of the shadowing 1-2 weeks beforehand. An FRC inspector will join the QAD reviewer(s) at your office, sit in on meetings and will also choose at least one of the audit files QAD selects to review themselves. ICAEW and the Audit Registration Committee retain sole responsibility for your audit monitoring visit, and the FRC does not influence the conclusions or outcome. Find out more

Impact of the pandemic

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to create new challenges to address, both relating to infection rates, new variants and the introduction of hybrid working models. In the case of unforeseen circumstances in the days leading up to your visit, please tell us as soon as possible and we can agree an appropriate solution.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and respond to government advice, over the coming months.

2021 trust and company services thematic review

Use this new guidance to identify the money laundering risks that are linked to offering trust and company services, and understand how to mitigate and avoid these risks. This information has been put together using findings from our thematic review with firms.

2020/21 AML supervision report

Read the latest AML supervision report to understand the current top findings from our monitoring visits and how to avoid them.

Live webinar: money laundering risk assessments

What does normal risk look like? Join a panel of speakers including MLROs, AML professionals and the ICAEW supervisory team on 15 February at 2pm. The panel will answer your questions and discuss risk factors to consider, sources of information, red flags, available guidance and case studies.

Register now

Updated Probate Regulations

Following a consultation process, we recently applied to the Legal Services Board to update the Probate Regulations to mandate price and service transparency. The changes have been approved and new regulations are now in effect. ICAEW probate accredited firms have until 1 February 2022 to comply. Find out what you need to do

Reissued Traffic Light Guide to investment business activity

Use the guide to identify whether a DPB (Investment Business) licence or FCA authorisation is needed to undertake a particular investment activity. The guide also gives examples of activity that does not require authorisation under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

ICAEW restructuring and insolvency roadshows

During our recent roadshows, Michelle Butler, partner at The Compliance Alliance, talked about why file notes are so important, how timing is everything, and the need to create a culture of documentation. ICAEW’s Quality Assurance team also discussed the welcome return of face-to-face monitoring and some of the key compliance topics insolvency practitioners need to be aware of.

Energy supplier insolvencies

With the growing numbers of energy supplier insolvencies, the Insolvency Service wants to support and encourage the flexible and considerate treatment of customers, particularly those who had outstanding debts at the time of the insolvency. Read more

Independent governance: what is discussed at ICAEW Regulatory Board?

View the October meeting papers.

Disciplinary update

As usual, we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the latest disciplinary cases to ensure you or your firm aren’t making any of the common mistakes that we see.

Read the December update

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