February 22, 2017 / 9:48 AM / 6 months ago

Ex-RSA Ireland finance head fined, banned over accounting scandal

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The former chief financial officer of UK insurer RSA's Irish business has been fined 35,000 pounds ($43,690) and banned for three years by Britain's accounting watchdog over a book-keeping scandal.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said on Wednesday it had fined Rory O'Connor and banned him for three years from the accounting profession for approving "materially inaccurate" financial statements.

O'Connor also agreed to pay 18,000 pounds towards the watchdog's legal costs.

RSA said in 2014 that a review of its businesses found that the accounting irregularities were confined to its Irish business, where there had been "inappropriate collaboration" among a small number of executives in Ireland.

The insurer was forced to inject 200 million pounds into its Irish business at the time and RSA Insurance Ireland said on Wednesday it has strengthened its control framework since 2013.

SPEAK UP

The FRC also made its first sanctions of actuaries, a move its executive counsel Gareth Rees said would send a strong signal to the accounting and actuarial professions of the importance of upholding high standards of professional conduct.

"They demonstrate the importance of compliance with the core principles of the Actuaries Code, including the obligation to speak up about, and challenge, improper conduct," Rees said.

Martin Ryan, former chief actuary for RSA in Ireland, admitted that his conduct fell significantly short of professional standards, the FRC said.

Ryan was fined 101,500 pounds and banned from the profession for three years. He will also contribute 11,000 pounds to the FRC's legal costs.

And Gerard Bradley, a former actuary at RSA in Ireland, also admitted his conduct fell short of professional standards and was fined 45,500 pounds, and will pay 3,500 pounds in costs.

Bradley failed to blow the whistle or challenge the inappropriate claims reserving, the FRC said. ($1 = 0.8011 pounds) (Additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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