Andrew Tyrie, the former chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has raised the idea of helping the world’s biggest accountancy firms deal with growing regulatory scrutiny.
Sky News has learnt that Mr Tyrie has held talks in recent weeks with a number of the big four accountancy firms and their regulator about an initiative aimed at restoring trust in the audit profession.
The discussions were preliminary in nature, and it was unclear whether Mr Tyrie was interested in working with an individual firm or establishing a body similar to the Banking Standards Board, which emerged several years after the 2008 banking crisis.
Mr Tyrie was widely regarded as one of Parliament’s most effective operators during his seven-year stint as chair of the Treasury Committee.
He announced in April that he would step down as the MP for Chichester at June’s General Election, and is said to have received a number of approaches from prospective employers since retiring from Parliament.
Mr Tyrie has also been touted as a potential chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority, a regulator upon which he frequently poured scorn over its handling of major banking issues.
His talks with the accountancy firms and the Financial Reporting Council are understood to have been instigated by him, with insiders saying that Mr Tyrie had suggested that a much tougher regulatory environment for the profession was inevitable.
“His pitch was essentially that auditors are likely to be next to be staring down the barrel of a gun,” said a person briefed on the conversations.
One source suggested that the FRC had been lukewarm about the idea, while another said it was unlikely to progress.
During his tenure at the helm of the Treasury Committee, Mr Tyrie was often critical of the FRC’s oversight of its biggest members – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – in relation to the financial crisis.
He was instrumental in the watchdog’s decision to reopen an inquiry into KPMG’s auditing of HBOS, the high street bank which fell into the arms of Lloyds TSB in the autumn of 2008.
That probe has yet to be concluded.
Mr Tyrie also chaired the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which spawned the creation of a new oversight regime for senior executives working in the banking industry – and which the FCA this week outlined plans to extend to the rest of the financial services sector.
The former MP also played an important role in the overhaul of Libor, the tarnished interbank lending rate, which the FCA’s chief executive said this week would be phased out within five years.
Mr Tyrie was unwilling to comment to Sky News about his talks with the big accountancy firms.