News July 2016 FRC investigation in connection with the pension schemes of Coats Group plc between 2004 and 2012

FRC investigation in connection with the pension schemes of Coats Group plc between 2004 and 2012

28 July 2016

PN 46/16

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has launched investigations under the Accountancy Scheme and the Actuarial Scheme into the conduct of Members of the Actuarial and Accountancy professions in connection with the pension schemes of various companies within the Guinness Peat Group (now renamed Coats Group plc) between 2004 and 2012.  The decision to investigate follows a referral from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries regarding matters arising from the Pension Regulator’s own ongoing investigation into the group’s pension scheme arrangements. 

Notes to editors:

1.    The FRC is responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment.  We are the UK Competent Authority for audit and set the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes as well as UK standards for accounting, auditing and actuarial work.  We represent UK interests in international standard-setting.  We also monitor and take action to promote the quality of corporate reporting and auditing.  We operate independent enforcement arrangements for accountants and actuaries; and oversee the regulatory activities of the accountancy and actuarial professional bodies.

2.  In relation to enforcement matters, in addition to its responsibilities as the Competent Authority for audit, the FRC is the independent, investigative and disciplinary body for accountants and actuaries in the UK dealing with cases which raise important issues affecting the public interest. In brief, the stages of these independent disciplinary processes are:

·         Decision to investigate
·         Investigation
·         Decision whether to bring enforcement proceedings against Member Firm or Member
·         Tribunal hearing
·         Determination and imposition of sanction and/or costs orders
Under the Schemes the FRC can start a disciplinary investigation following a referral from a professional body or of its own accord. The Conduct Committee will decide to investigate where the criteria set out in the Schemes are met, I.e. where:
(i) the matter raises or appears to raise important issues affecting the public interest in the United Kingdom and (ii) there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there may have been Misconduct.
Investigations are conducted by Executive Counsel and the Enforcement division.