Finance regulator gains powers

■ The government is speeding up plans to streamline the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), giving the cumbersome auditing and corporate governance watchdog a bigger stick to rein in rule-breakers and help shape European Union laws. The FRC covers a range of supervisory activities from punishing auditors for rule breaches and checking up on accountants and actuaries to promoting best practice in how companies run themselves. Its wide remit has often made it hard for the public to understand what it does. “By tightening its focus and streamlining its governance and structure, we believe the FRC can be even more effective,” business minister Norman Lamb said yesterday.