£3m farewell to KPMG chief in financial regulator’s chair

John Griffith-Jones received a £1.97m salary in 2012, plus an additional £1.2m in retirement provisions

The chairman of the UK’s new financial regulator received £3m from KPMG when he retired as chairman of the accountancy’s UK division in August.

John Griffith-Jones – who will become non-executive chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – received a £1.97m salary in 2012, plus an additional £1.2m in retirement provisions. His salary was £700,000 lower than a year ago.

The FCA is being set up to protect consumers, with the aim of addressing problems such as the mis-selling of payment protection insurance more quickly. It will be spun out of the Financial Services Authority early next year.

Profits at KPMG Europe fell by 5% in the year to September, due to the eurozone crisis. Rolf Nonnenmacher, the chairman of KPMG Europe, said it was a difficult marketplace. “The downturn in Europe has become a long and lingering one and the environment is difficult for companies across sectors,” he added.

Nonnenmacher said European audit reforms risked weakening regulation of the industry. “We are not against change, nor are we interested in special pleading. But [European Commission] reforms could end up having the unintended consequence of weakening rather than strengthening standards – the last thing we need at a time when investor sentiment is so volatile. Any reform to the audit regime in Europe must be done with the very greatest of care.”

KPMG said profits in its European division fell to €861m, while turnover rose by 9% to €5bn. Sales on a like-for-like basis ticked up 4% to €5.2bn. The audit and tax divisions stalled, while KPMG’s risk consultancy grew by 16%, which KPMG said reflected “the continuing need for clients to manage risk, reputation and compliance carefully”.

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