Watchdog will open new RSA Ireland inquiry

Caitlin Morrison
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Ex-RBS chief Hester has been RSA boss since 2014
INSURER RSA is facing an external investigation over financial irregularities in its Irish business, which were uncovered in 2013.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) announced yesterday that it has decided to investigate the conduct of certain individuals at RSA Ireland.

An RSA spokesperson said: “This is not an investigation into RSA. The FRC’s remit is over members and member firms of accountants, auditors and actuaries. We understand that the investigation will therefore cover members of these professions who were employed by RSA at the time.”

News of the issues at RSA’s Irish arm, which took place during 2012, led to the departures of several senior executives – including group chief executive Simon Lee – and prompted a series of profit warnings.

Ex-RBS boss Stephen Hester was appointed to replace Lee in 2014, and has been leading a turnaround of the FTSE 100 insurer since then. Under Hester’s leadership, RSA has been divesting its non-core business and at its last results, the company said its remediation in Ireland was continuing.

Ex-RSA Ireland boss Philip Smith, who quit after being suspended over the irregularities, was last month awarded €1.25m (£887,000) by an employment tribunal on the grounds of constructive dismissal.
RSA said it will appeal the decision. 

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