The Bar Standards Board has signed a cross-profession agreement to share data with regulators from the legal, accountancy, financial and property sectors so that Alternative Business Structures (ABS) only have to deal with one regulator.
The regulators have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which came into force on 3 May, agreeing to co-ordinate resources and swap information where it is in the public interest to do so. This allows the regulators to work together to gather evidence or find common standards and definitions where there has been a regulatory breach.
The move has been prompted by the launch of ABS, which can involve professionals regulated by several different bodies.
Ewen Macleod, Bar Standards Board head of professional practice, said: “To ensure consumer protection and market integrity in today’s rapidly changing legal services market, regulators must work together with key regulatory partners and cooperate and communicate constructively.
“Under this agreement, the various regulators will coordinate resources and activities to avoid duplication of effort and to increase consumer protection.”
Some 105 legal businesses had reached the second, bespoke stage of the ABS application process, and five ABS had been licensed, at the time of Counsel going to press.