Lawyers could be pitched against accountants to monitor their firms for investment business following a decision by the Financial Services Authority to put its new powers to monitor professional firms out to tender, writes Lucinda Kemeny. It could potentially lead to a battle between the two professions with law and accountancy institutes, who have traditional fulfilled the role of monitor, fighting each other and the Big Five firms - which have already shown their interest in the job. The Law Society of England and Wales this week confirmed it would bid for the right to monitor its own members and will reject any proposals from accountants to do the job. A spokesman said: 'There certainly is rivalry between the two professions and the Law Society will be arguing its case very robustly.' He added that it was confident that no external organisation could outbid the society on price, quality and knowledge of the field. But the advertisement to attract bids has deliberately placed no limits on any one profession from acquiring the sole rights to monitor the 2,000 firms of lawyers, accountants and actuaries who will fall under the new regulations. The three institutes of chartered accountants already have a Joint Monitoring Unit and chairman of the professional standards office Peter Wyman said it could take on the role, while ACCA is likely to bid to monitor small firms.
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