Birmingham picked as home of UK’s new audit watchdog
MINISTERS have chosen Birmingham as the home of the UK’s new audit watchdog, in a move that risks an internal backlash at the supervisory body it is set to replace.
City A.M. understands the soon-to-be launched Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA) watchdog will be headquartered in Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham.
The new regulator is set to replace the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which has around 400 staff working at its City of London offices.
ARGA’s launch will see 200 FRC staff relocated to Birmingham immediately, with the majority of the remaining staff set to follow, the Financial Times reported.
City A.M. understands the plans have angered staff at the regulator, who had been told that a second office would be opening but had not been made aware that any staff might be forced to relocate.
Some FRC staff have also questioned why the audit regulator would be moved out of the capital when the majority of the largest players in the industry, which it supervises, are based in London.
It remains unclear as to whether FRC staff will be allowed to work remotely from London following the regulator’s launch, on the back of legislation, by 2024 at the earliest.
Lord Martin Callanan, who is overseeing ARGA’s launch, is reportedly behind the plans.
The decision comes as the UK government pushes forwards with plans to move 22,000 civil service jobs outside of London by 2030.
BEIS is currently planning to move 1,350 jobs outside of London by 2025, after having already announced plans to move 865 jobs to Birmingham, Salford, Cardiff, Darlington, Belfast, and Edinburgh.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “The establishment of ARGA… is a key pillar of the government’s audit regime overhaul to restore trust in big business and reduce the risk of large-scale collapses like Carillion and BHS.”
The FRC declined to comment.