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DTI will scrap audits for smaller companies

The Department of Trade and Industry is set to abolish audit requirements for regulated small firms and appointed representatives.

The FSA says the move will save 3,200 small firms and 1,490 ARs £12.9m a year. The DTI will introduce regulations under the Companies Act 1985 to implement the FSA’s proposal as soon as possible. The aim is that these will apply to financial years ending on or after December 31 this year.

The FSA says consumer protection will not be affected as most authorised small firms are subject to the retail mediation activities return. The capital requirements for firms, which apply on an ongoing basis, will remain unchanged and any firm holding client money will still be required to have a client money audit.

Last September, the DTI amended the Companies Act to exempt small FSA-authorised firms and ARs that only undertake mortgage and general insurance business from the audit requirement.

FSA director of small firms Stephen Bland says: “We are challenging regulations whose costs outweigh the benefits and our work with the DTI to extend the audit exemption will bring firms that are limited companies in line with partnerships and sole traders.”

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