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October 29, 2018

Reports: Stephen Haddrill stepping down as CEO of the FRC

By Joe Pickard

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) CEO Stephen Haddrill is reportedly stepping down, according to Sky News.

Haddrill, who became CEO of the FRC in November 2009, is to leave before the end of the year, anonymous sources told Sky News over the weekend.

The accounting watchdog has faced almost as much scrutiny as the Big Four over the last year as the profession has been urged to reform by a number of politicians. The FRC is currently under an investigation, led by UK insurer Legal & General chairman John Kingman, to assess if it is still fit for purpose.

Earlier this year, Haddrill called for more powers to be given to the FRC. In a letter to the select committees who led the investigation into the collapse of Carillion, Haddrill asked for more powers to be given to the FRC to allow it to investigate the quality of the governance of the companies.

Today the UK chairman of EY, Steve Varley, told the Financial Times the FRC ‘should have stronger regulatory authority over audit firms and company directors’. Varley said that to do this, the FRC should receive extra funding.

He said that the FRC should have its own powers to fine and sanction without having to get approval from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales first.

The criticisms of the FRC this year started to mount following the collapse of Carillion, a report into which branded the watchdog ‘chronically passive’.

Commenting at the time on the report, University of Sheffield professor of accounting and finance and University of Essex emeritus professor of accounting Prem Sikka said: “The FRC is unfit to be a regulator. For any regulator to be effective, the first starting point is it must be independent from those who it regulates.”

IAB contacted the FRC for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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