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Accountants and ABI in plea to DWP over stakeholder rules

Top accountancy firms along with the ABI are calling on the Department for Work and Pensions to amend stakeholder regulations or face a potential string of resignations from reporting accountants.

Under stakeholder rules, each scheme must have an appointed reporting accountant. But an accountancy firm cannot take up the position if any of its employees hold a stakeholder plan with that provider.

This was designed to keep the reporting accountant independent of the scheme. But the big accountancy firms say this is unworkable in practice and want the rules amended.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been writing to clients, saying it will have to resign its position as their reporting accountant unless the rules change because it cannot guarantee none of its employees has stakeholders with the providers.

The DWP, the ABI and the accounting profession met last week to discuss concerns and see if the rules can be amended.

A DWP spokesman says: “The profession has raised legitimate concerns. We acknowledge them and are now looking at the best way to take them forward.”

ABI spokeswoman Emma Grange says: “We do have concerns over the reporting accountant regulations on stakeholder. We addressed them to the DWP to see if a middle ground can be found.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers director Trevor Lewin says: “We have been speaking to clients indicating the need for change on this issue. We are encouraged by the initial feedback from the meeting and we are hopeful changes will come about.”

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