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Associations & Bodies

QC tasked with investigating audit scandal at RICS

The ongoing investigation into RICS treasury governance is now being headed up by Alison Levitt QC after departure of previous probe boss.

Nigel Lewis

rics

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has replaced the head investigator of its financial review sparked by whistleblowers concerned about an internal audit and staff redundancies.

Alison Levitt QC has taken over from Peter Oldham as independent reviewer of historic treasury management issues at RICS after he was unable to continue due to “professional reasons”.

The external review was commissioned at the end of January and due to publish findings by early April, but the body now says this is likely to be mid-June.

Last year, The Negotiator reported that RICS agent members were unhappy about the handling of 140 redundancies at the trade body, where plans to offload staff were executed with only minor pay cuts for senior staff.

The Sunday Times then revealed that four non-exec directors had their contracts ended abruptly after they questioned how the organisation’s finances were being run.

They said an unflattering report into its treasury management had been buried by senior management following reports that RICS had extended its overdraft without informing the organisation’s board.

Treasury control

Treasury controls are the checks and balances larger businesses employ at board level to ensure they have the day-to-day cash to operate.

The NEDs discovered that the report was critical of RICS’s internal financial regulation.

But RICS denied that their departure was linked to its probe into the report and told The Sunday Times it was financially sound.

The review will soon be issuing a call for evidence and its remit remains unchanged.

April 14, 2021

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