News July 2017 FRC appoints Mary Cleary to the Audit and Assurance Council and John Hitchins to the Conduct Committ

FRC appoints Mary Cleary to the Audit and Assurance Council and John Hitchins to the Conduct Committee

24 July 2017
PN 33/17

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has appointed Mary Cleary to the Audit and Assurance Council and John Hitchins to the Conduct Committee. 

Mary Cleary is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and is a partner with PwC Ireland since 2005. She has worked and continues to act as audit partner across a diverse portfolio of complex clients, including listed and large private entities. She also leads PwC Ireland's audit methodology group, with responsibility for the implementation of audit methodology and policies in the Irish Practice.

John Hitchins has been a member of the Corporate Reporting Review Committee and Deputy Chair of the Financial Reporting Review Panel (FRRP) since 2016.

John retired from PwC in 2014 after 26 years as a partner Throughout his PwC career, John specialised in bank auditing and advisory services and was PwC’s banking industry leader from 2001-10.  From 2010 to his retirement, he led the PwC network’s global IFRS technical group. He is currently Chair of the Audit Committee at Aldermore Group PLC.

John served as a member of the FCA Practitioner and Markets Practitioner Panels from 2012-14. He has served as Chairman of the Institute’ of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ Banking Committee and as a Board member of the Institute’s Financial Services Faculty and a member of the Institute’s Business Law Committee.

Notes to editors:

1.         The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is the UK’s independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment. The FRC sets the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes and UK standards for accounting and actuarial work; monitors and takes action to promote the quality of corporate reporting; and operates independent enforcement arrangements for accountants and actuaries. As the Competent Authority for audit in the UK the FRC sets auditing and ethical standards and monitors and enforces audit quality.

2.         The Audit and Assurance Council considers and advises the FRC Board and the Codes and Standards Committee on audit and assurance matters. 

The Audit and Assurance Council:
  • Provides strategic input and thought leadership, both in its area of expertise and the work-plan of the FRC as a whole. This involves “horizon-scanning” and consulting with practitioners or users;
  • Considers and advises the FRC Board upon draft Codes and Standards (or amendments thereto) to ensure that a high quality, effective and proportionate approach is taken;
  • Considers and comments upon proposed developments in relation to international Codes and Standards and regulations; and
  • Considers and advises on research proposals and other initiatives undertaken to inform the FRC on matters material to its remit and any resultant publications.
Council comprises the Chair who is also a member of the Codes & Standards Committee and up to eleven members. Up to half of the membership shall be practising members of the audit profession.

3.         The Conduct Committee is responsible for overseeing the FRC’s supervisory, monitoring and enforcement work with the objective of promoting high quality corporate reporting. 

Amongst its responsibilities, the Conduct Committee:

a) advises the FRC Board on its exercise of the functions of the competent authority under the Statutory Auditors and Third Country Auditors Regulations 2016 and other statutory functions,

b) oversees the FRC’s work in respect of:
  • monitoring of Recognised Supervisory and Recognised Qualifying Bodies;
  • audit quality reviews;
  • corporate reporting reviews;
  • non-statutory oversight of the regulation of accountants and actuaries; and

c) has various decision-making responsibilities under the FRC’s enforcement procedures;

d) has statutory functions which are delegated by the Secretary of State under section 457 of the Companies Act 2006 and section 14(2) of the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004. The Conduct Committee exercises these functions in accordance with its Operating Procedures.

The Conduct Committee, which meets monthly, comprises FRC Board members and others with a range of skills, experience and relevant technical expertise. It has a majority of lay members and excludes current practising auditors as well as officers of the professional bodies it regulates.  Information regarding its current membership can be found here (PDF) and its terms of reference can be found here (PDF). 

The Conduct Committee is supported by three further Committees: the Case Management Committee which advises on monitors the handling of disciplinary cases, the Audit Quality Review Committee and the Corporate Reporting Review Committee which ensure the consistency and quality of the FRC's monitoring work. Members of these Committees, including the Chairs, sit on the Conduct Committee.  Also reporting to the Conduct Committee is the Enforcement Committee Panel.  Members of this Panel are appointed by the Enforcement Committee Panel Chair to sit on Enforcement Committees for the purposes of the Audit Enforcement Procedure.