News October 2016 PwC LLP and Stephen Harrison, a member firm and member of the ICAEW

PwC LLP and Stephen Harrison, a member firm and member of the ICAEW

20 October 2016
PN 57/16

A hearing of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will consider a Formal Complaint against (1) PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC LLP), a member firm of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and (2) Stephen Harrison, a retired partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and a member of the ICAEW.

The Formal Complaint concerns the conduct of PwC LLP and Mr Harrison in relation to the audit of the financial statements of Connaught plc and its subsidiaries, Connaught Partnerships Limited (CPL) and Connaught Compliance Limited (CCL) for the year ended 31 August 2009. 

It is alleged that the conduct of PwC LLP and Stephen Harrison fell significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected of a Member firm and a Member. 

The hearing relates to the investigation notified in AADB Notice PN 29 of 2010 and the delivery of a Formal Complaint in relation to PwC LLP and Stephen Harrison. 

The matter is listed to take place on the following dates:
  • Friday 18 November 2016, Monday 21 November to Thursday 24 November 2016, Monday 28 November to Friday 2 December 2016, Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 December 2016.   
  • The hearing will commence at 10.00 am each day.
  • The hearing venue is The International Dispute Resolution Centre Limited, 70 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1EU.
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 disciplinary matters, 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 the disciplinary process are:
  • Decision to investigate
  • Investigation
  • Decision whether to bring disciplinary proceedings against a member firm or     member and, if so decided, referral to Disciplinary Tribunal
  • Tribunal hearing
  • Determination and imposition of sanction and/or costs orders
The FRC can start a disciplinary investigation in one of two ways: (i) the professional bodies can refer cases to the FRC; and (ii) the FRC may decide of its own accord to investigate a matter. The Conduct Committee will consider each case identified or referred to it and decide whether or not the criteria for an investigation are met.
Investigations are conducted by Executive Counsel and the Enforcement Division. If disciplinary proceedings are commenced, Executive Counsel delivers a Formal Complaint to the Conduct Committee. The Conduct Committee then instructs the Convener to appoint a Disciplinary Tribunal.

3.    Formal Complaints filed following an investigation are heard by an independent Tribunal which will normally sit in public. If the Tribunal upholds a Formal Complaint, there is a wide range of sanctions which it can impose including an unlimited fine, exclusion from membership of a professional body covered by one of the Schemes and withdrawal of practising certificates or licences.