Topping the list of concerns for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in its 2014/15 Risk Outlook is ‘financial difficulty and poor management’. One might have expected that the people best placed to address these concerns would be firms’ compliance officers for legal practice, and for finance and administration.
But we now learn that the SRA has plans to relieve small firms of the requirement to appoint COLPs and COFAs. Who, then, will be responsible in such firms (however ‘small’ might be defined) for ensuring compliance with the Code of Conduct, with which firms of all sizes seem to have difficulty in coming to terms? Everyone or no one?
What makes the proposal particularly ironic is that past experience suggests that smaller firms represent greater regulatory risk than larger ones.
Ian Muirhead, SIFA, Epsom