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We can investigate referrals from our assurance work and received complaints from the public. The allegations which we generally consider and investigate relate to misconduct, serious professional incompetence, or criminal convictions.

We are more likely to start an investigation if the complaint or information is about:

  • dishonesty, or lack of trustworthiness or integrity
  • deliberate acts or omissions that put the safety of the public or public interest at risk
  • a member or firm having put their own interests or those of a third party before the interests of a client
  • serious or persistent failures to meet our professional standards or
  • failure to keep clients’ money safe.

If we start an investigation, this will usually involve us seeking evidence from relevant witnesses, preparing statements, seeking relevant documentary evidence and also asking the relevant member to provide a response to the complaint.

If we do not believe that there is, or is likely to be, sufficiently strong evidence to support allegations we will not start an investigation.

The purpose of our regulatory procedures is not to punish members, firms or to provide compensation, but to act in the public interest. As part of our decision about whether it is necessary to begin an investigation, we balance the public interest and the interests of the person being complained about.

We operate a complaints process that is open and transparent. If we decide not to start an investigation, we will write to the complainant to inform them of this decision and our reasons.

If an investigation has revealed a serious matter supported by evidence, we will consider taking disciplinary action.