Mazars faces accounting tribunal over First Quench pension advice

Marion Dakers
THE ACCOUNTANCY watchdog is investigating Mazars and the managing partner of its London office over pension advice given to the now-defunct drinks firm First Quench Retailing.

The Financial Reporting Council has made a formal complaint about Mazars and partner Richard Karmel, claiming their conduct “fell significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected”.

The accountancy firm and Karmel will now face an independent disciplinary tribunal, which has the power to impose unlimited fines.

First Quench, which owned Threshers and Wine Rack, fell into administration in October 2009.

Mazars’ alleged misconduct took place two years earlier, when it advised on First Quench’s pension fund being transferred to a new company.

The FRC dropped its investigation into the actuaries linked to the pension fund, claiming that “there is no realistic prospect that a tribunal would make an adverse finding”.

Mazars said yesterday it will contest the allegations. “We are disappointed that the FRC has decided to pursue a formal complaint in relation to this piece of advisory work,” it said in a statement.