The UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has released proposals to set up joint disciplinary tribunals for professional misconduct hearings involving actuaries and accountants.

The proposed changes affect the actuarial disciplinary scheme that deals with complaints about actuaries that give rise to a point of public interest.

The FRC is proposing that, where a complaint arising out of a single set of facts involves both actuaries and accountants, the complaint should be heard by a single tribunal.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has said it broadly welcomes the move.

In a statement, the IFoA’s general counsel Ben Kemp said: “We welcome the FRC’s consultation, which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its public interest tribunal process.

“We remain committed to working in partnership with the FRC to ensure the smooth and efficient introduction of any proposed changes.”

The FRC and the IFoA are charged with oversight of the actuarial profession.

The FRC sets and maintains the profession’s rulebook, the Technical Actuarial Standards, as well as the Actuarial Standard Technical Memorandum.

In addition, the council oversees the regulation of actuaries by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

The FRC also operates two disciplinary schemes covering both actuaries and accountants, the Accountancy Scheme and the Actuarial Scheme.

Broadly speaking, the two schemes deal with serious allegations of misconduct by a member of the two professions that give rise to a point of public interest.

Although the schemes share many common features, they are nonetheless separate disciplinary processes.

The proposed amendments, however, could lead to the introduction of new joint tribunals that would hear complaints arising out of the same set of facts under the two schemes.

In its consultation document, the FRC said the aim of the change is to “enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the disciplinary arrangements, to promote consistency and, where possible, to reduce duplication of costs by providing for one hearing rather than two”.

Joint tribunal hearings, the FRC added, will “promote consistency of regulation and co-ordinated resolution of disciplinary cases”.

In the longer term, the FRC expects the shift to combined hearings “to reduce rather than increase the costs associated with a disciplinary case involving both accountants and actuaries” 

Interested parties have until 16 July to comment on the proposals.

The FRC has signalled it will publish its formal response later this year.

The text of the consultation document is available here.