New audit watchdog: FRC set to confirm CEO will move from London to Birmingham
The CEO of the newly formed audit watchdog will be based in Birmingham – a more than hour long train journey away from the country’s auditors, City A.M. understands.
A new auditor body, referred to as ARGA, to replace the Financial Reporting Council, has been planned for a number of years.
The new auditing regulator’s CEO will initially be recruited into London but soon move to Birmingham, where the audit watchdog will be opening up a second office.
Staff at the FRC were told the news in an all-hands meeting yesterday.
The plan is for the Birmingham office to be fully operation by the second half of this year, with a location not more than ten minutes from the main rail station, New Street.
The FRC will also move out of its current London Wall headquarters prior to its lease running out in early 2025.
Staff have been told that nobody will be required to move to Birmingham, though a package is in place including £11,000 in financial support and the option for train travel to be paid, and the plan is to have at least 170 of the targeted 600 employees in place by 2026. The goal is to have a 50/50 balance between be two locations by 2029.
The move will raise eyebrows, with the vast majority of the nation’s biggest audit, accountancy and professional services firms based in London, within easy reach of the FRC’s current offices.
The FRC is obliged through its work to spend a significant amount of time ‘on site’ at the firms it regulates, although employees are only expected to work on average two days a week in their office or firms offices.
An FRC spokesperson told City A.M.: “The FRC said has previously announced its plans to establish a second office as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda, with the intention of making it the central office in the future.
“This second office will be in Birmingham and the role of Chief Executive will therefore be based there in due course. However, it’s important to note that as the Chief Executive, the post holder will be required to engage and work across both offices to effectively carry out their responsibilities.”