The Solicitors Regulation Authority has unveiled plans to remove the requirement that firms have their client accounts reviewed by an independent accountant and submit an annual accountant’s report.
Let’s not underestimate the pace of change in the legal regulatory landscape over the past couple of years. Developments have been unprecedented, relentless and, at times, frustrating. 2014 is set to be another busy year for compliance officers with yet more regulatory upheaval. And it all kicks off in January with a review of the compliance officer for finance and administration (COFA) role.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched “forensic investigations” into 10 law firms that may have breached the personal injury referral fee ban, in a move that will be seen as a warning to the profession. Meanwhile, 141 firms without indemnity insurance are heading for closure.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has begun a review of the role of compliance officers for finance and administration, less than a year since they took up their posts. Meanwhile, it has expressed concern about the lack of self-reporting by firms.
More than a year on from the deadline for law firms to nominate their compliance officers for legal practice and for finance and administration, and 40 practices still remain without anyone in place, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has revealed.
More than 600 law firms and individuals have so far had their cards marked by the Solicitors Regulation Authority over failures associated with the nomination of compliance officers, it has emerged. A further 139 investigations remain live.
Your COFA should live, sleep, eat and breathe financial management. This isn’t optional; rule 1 of the Accounts Rules demands compliance with the SRA principles and Code of Conduct in relation to effective financial management of the firm. So what is effective financial management? Outcomes-focused regulation usually means you have to guess what the SRA expects; however, in a rare moment of clarity, the SRA has explained exactly what good and bad financial management looks like.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is working its way through the hundreds of firms and individuals facing enforcement action over compliance officer failures – but has now found another 205 firms that require investigation.
Requiring all 10,000 law firms to report non-material breaches to the Solicitors Regulation Authority is “unsustainable and cannot be justified”, the regulator’s board will be told today. Meanwhile, the number of firms and individuals facing action over COLP/COFA nomination failures has risen to 928.
Law firms will be held responsible for breaching the personal injury referral fee ban if they sign up to ventures that appear to be genuine joint marketing schemes but prove illegal, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has warned. It will also target senior individuals within firms that “recklessly trade into insolvency”.