Head of AQI inspections replaced by PRA's David Rule

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has confirmed that Mike Suffield, acting executive director of audit and actuarial regulation is to step down after a year in post, with a central banking regulator seconded to head up audit firm monitoring and supervision

He will be replaced by David Rule, who is being seconded to the FRC from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) on a two-year term to a newly established position as executive director of supervision, starting on 1 September 2019.

Suffield joined the FRC as acting director in July 2018 after over 20 years at the National Audit Office (NAO), when Melanie McLaren Hind stood down after six years in the post. He had always indicated that this would be a temporary appointment after signalling his intention to leave the FRC in August to join ACCA as director of professional insights.

Rule is currently executive director, insurance supervision at the PRA and he will take over responsibility for the monitoring of UK audit firms, audit quality inspection programme and governance oversight at the FRC.

He will lead the FRC’s audit quality and corporate reporting review functions and sit on the regulator’s executive committee. This will include oversight of the annual audit quality inspection (AQI) reviews into audit performance at the Big Four and mid-tier audit firms.

Actuarial responsibilities will remain under the remit of executive director of corporate governance and reporting, Paul George.

Rule will report to outgoing chief executive, Stephen Haddrill, who is set to leave the organisation before the end of 2019, and will be responsible for overseeing the supervision and monitoring of audit and company reporting.  

The appointment comes as the FRC faces a major overhaul of its regulatory status following the recommendations of the highly critical Kingman review into the future of the regulator, published in December 2018.

The Kingman review has resulted in a root and branch review of the FRC and will see the creation of a new regulatory body called the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). The establishment of ARGA will require statutory legislation before it is fully functional and the government has not indicated a timetable to pass relevant statutory instruments but the FRC has already signalled that it is in a transitionary phase and set aside additional funding in its 2019/20 Budget plan to expand its supervisory and monitoring activities.

As a central banker, prior to moving into a regulatory role, Rule spent the much of his career with the Bank of England, where he held a number of roles from 1990 to 2006, including market infrastructure, financial stability analysis and banking supervision. From 2002 to 2006 he was head of sterling markets division at the Bank.

More recently, he was the PRA’s executive director, prudential policy from 2014 to 2016, and before that was director, international UK banks at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from September 2012, after moving to UK bank supervision in 2011. During this time, he chaired the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Workstream on Securities Lending and Repos (WS5).

He joined the FSA in August 2009 as head of the macro prudential department. Before that, from 2006-09, he was chief executive of the International Securities Lending Association, a trade body representing participants in the European securities financing market.

Haddrill said: ‘I am delighted to welcome David to the FRC. He brings substantial experience and understanding of financial markets that will be invaluable to the FRC as we transition towards a new statutory regulator.

‘He joins the FRC at a time of strategic importance and will play a significant role in driving further improvements in audit and reporting quality.’

 Sara White

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