2013 ACCA Rulebook - What has changed?
The changes to the 2012 Rulebook have arisen from policy decisions over the past year, implementation of existing Council policy or legislative/lead regulator requirements, or the necessary clarification of existing regulations.
Regulation changes arising from the Overview of Regulatory Procedures Working Party
Many of the substantive changes for the 2013 Rulebook have arisen from the recommendations of the Overview of Regulatory Procedures Working Party, set up in 2011 to review ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory processes with particular reference to independence, fairness, proportionality and the public interest. These include:
Regulatory Board and Committee Regulations:
- the introduction of legal advisers into ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory arrangements. This move will further enhance the independence of ACCA’s disciplinary and regulatory committees as the provision of legal and procedural advice to committees will be by individuals independent of ACCA. Consequential provisions are included in the Authorisation Regulations, Complaint and Disciplinary Regulations and Appeal Regulations;
- a reduction in the quorum of each committee from four to three and the removal of the requirement that a lawyer should serve on each committee, save that the chairman of the Appeal Committee must be a lawyer.
Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations:
- a requirement that, where an assessor has reviewed an investigating officer’s decision to close a case and has decided that a report of disciplinary allegations should be prepared, the report should be referred to the same assessor;
- an additional test of whether there is a real prospect of an allegation being found proved where an assessor considers a report of disciplinary allegations;
- an enhanced interim order regime
- new procedures for the Case Presenter to apply to withdraw cases in place of the Case Presenter’s current power to do so.
- a further tightening of the criteria for lodging appeals in order to eliminate unmeritorious appeals.
The changes reflect the 2013 membership fee, which is £205.
The principal amendments to the Membership Regulations:
- reflect that, from 2013, the Professional Ethics Module is mandatory for all students;
- clarify the prohibited activities of ACCA students;
- allow ACCA students who are members of an IFAC member body outside the UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Dependencies, the Isle of Man and Ireland (and holding practising certificates from those bodies), to engage in public practice;
- reflect the requirements of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2012 in the Republic of Ireland with regard to anti-money laundering supervision;
- minimise the risk of a member unreasonably avoiding removal from the register in respect of CPD breaches or bankruptcy;
- provide that notices may be sent to an address nominated by the member which may not be the registered address. Similar provisions are included in the Complaint and Disciplinary Regulations and Appeal Regulations
provide flexibility, so that a hearing may proceed notwithstanding minor non-compliance with requirements for the service of documents, provided it is justified in all the circumstances. Similar provisions are included in the Regulatory Board and Committee Regulations, Authorisation Regulations, Complaint and Disciplinary Regulations and the Appeal Regulations;
- amend Appendix 2 to reflect a change in policy to allow ACCA affiliates who have complied with other IFAC member bodies’ practical experience requirements, in some circumstances, to claim an exemption from the performance objectives component of ACCA’s practical experience requirements.
Annexes to the Global Practising Regulations:
The substantive amendments to the UK Annex to the Global Practising Regulations remove references to the various Boards of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which no longer exist following the FRC’s restructuring. Similar provisions are included in the Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations and the Appeal Regulations.
Republic of Ireland Annex:
The only substantive amendment to the Republic of Ireland Annex to the Global Practising Regulations aligns the regulations to the requirements of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, and requires members in Ireland who provide book-keeping services to obtain practising certificates from ACCA.
Designated Professional Body Regulations:
These regulations have been amended to bring about consistency with the requirements for retail investment firms in respect of commission following the FSA’s Retail Distribution Review. All references to ‘commission’ have been removed, as have several definitions that are no longer required.
Irish Investment Business Regulations:
Substantial changes have been made to the Irish Investment Business Regulations. These have been reformatted in order to clearly require firms to comply with the Consumer Protection Code issued by the Central Bank of Ireland, as well as the Minimum Competency Requirements. This has given rise to the deletion of many regulations, in order to avoid duplication with the requirements set out in the Consumer Protection Code and the Minimum Competence Requirements themselves.
In addition to the amendments outlined earlier, the only other substantive change to the Authorisation Regulations reflects an interim order regime consistent with that of the Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations.
Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations:
In addition to the amendments outlined earlier, the substantive changes to the Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations:
- provide that deemed notice provisions apply to complainants as well as relevant persons. A similar provision is included in the Appeal Regulations;
- give the chairmen explicit powers to give case management directions. A similar provision is included in the Appeal Regulations;
- explicitly allow discretion for ACCA to extend the time limit by which complainants may request reviews of decisions to close cases in limited circumstances.
In addition to the amendments outlined earlier the only other substantive change to the Appeal Regulations provides that, if the chairman grants permission to appeal an order which was made with immediate effect, he may also grant a stay of the order if it is justified in all the circumstances.
Code of Ethics and Conduct:
In order to clarify the requirements of the Code concerning descriptions of firms, an amendment has been made to Section B4 to add the term ‘statutory auditors’ to the list of descriptions that should not form part of a firm’s name.
Other changes to the Code include the clarification and strengthening of the requirements concerning the use of the ACCA logo.
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