Former RSM Tenon finance director banned for five years

Russell McBurnie, the former finance director of collapsed audit firm RSM Tenon, has been banned from the accountancy profession for five years by the  UK’s accountancy watchdog.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has also fined McBurnie £60,000, which was reduced to £57,000 for settlement, and ordered him to pay £825,000 towards the costs of the investigation.

Russell McBurnie, who left London-listed RSM Tenon in 2012, admitted “extensive misconduct” in relation to the preparation and approval of the firm’s 2011 financial statements, the FRC said.

RSM Tenon, then the UK’s 10th biggest auditor by income fee, fell into administration in 2013 after a string of acquisitions that left it burdened with hefty debts. The firm was then sold to rival Baker Tilly.

The regulator said: “McBurnie admitted nine allegations that his conduct fell significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected of a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).”

It added he breached fundamental principals of the ICAEW’s code of ethics, including integrity, with the former finance chief admitting he was “reckless as to whether certain information within the financial statements had been fairly and accurately stated”.

Auditor PriceWaterhouseCoopers admitted misconduct and was fined £5.1 million and “severely reprimanded” by the accounting watchdog for “extensive” misconduct in the audit of RSM Tenon Group’s 2011 accounts.

The regulator had earlier reached a settlement with Andrew Raynor, RSM Tenon’s former chief executive, under which he was fined £40,000, reduced to £26,500 after mitigation and a settlement discount.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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