The ICAEW has defended its decision not to donate £13.5m it received in fines from the Silentnight insolvency to the bankrupt firm’s pension fund following a barrage of criticism.
Political and media pressure to compensate the bed company’s pension holders with the award from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) prompted the Institute to respond that it had not been gifted a “windfall” and that the costs of its investigations are rarely reclaimed.
KPMG was sanctioned in August 2021 over its conduct in the sale of Silentnight, which became insolvent, as the Silentnight Pension Scheme ended up in the Pension Protection Fund.
David Costley-Wood, former partner and head of KPMG Manchester Restructuring, was severely reprimanded and penalised £500,000 for his role in the sale and excluded from the ICAEW for 13 years.
The ICAEW board had voted to retain the proceeds of the fine, as it was legally entitled to, rather than reimburse Silentnight’s pension fund. In response, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking criticised the decision, stating that Silentnight’s staff had been “ripped off by one of the body’s own members”.
Writing to APPG Banking co-chairman Kevin Hollinrake MP, ICAEW chief executive Michael Izza said that, although the board “had sympathy” with members of the Silentnight Pension Scheme who may have suffered losses, it would not be passing on the £13.5m as compensation.
While the ICAEW board considered the merits of the request, it said the Accountancy Scheme, which details how cases are dealt with by the FRC, “was never intended to operate as a compensation scheme for third parties who may have suffered losses as a result of actions of ICAEW members and member firms.”
What will the ICAEW do with its windfall?
Will it reduce members' subscriptions?
Of course it won't!
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