Competition Commission takes issue with ICAP notification

Says barring non-ICAP students from ICAP member firms uncompetitive.

Our Correspondent July 26, 2012


The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has taken notice of an Institute of Chartered Accounts of Pakistan (ICAP) circular that barred the latter’s member audit firms from engaging non-ICAP students, and students with foreign qualifications.

The CCP had received complaints concerning the circular – dated July 4, 2012 – issued by ICAP, in which all its members firms have been barred from providing training opportunities to non-ICAP students, in particular to students with accreditation from foreign accountancy bodies.

According to the ICAP circular, the bar has been imposed under Section 22 of the Chartered Accountants Ordinance, 1961. The bar appears, prima facie, to exclude and place a barrier to entry on students of foreign accountancy bodies wishing to pursue accountancy qualifications in Pakistan; the Commission has therefore asked ICAP to explain the rationale behind the move by July 23, 2012.

However, as a meeting of the ICAP Council is already scheduled for July 28, 2012, ICAP has requested for an extension to July 31, 2012, for filing a formal reply. The CCP has granted the extension, and on receipt of a reply from ICAP, the CCP will proceed with further investigation in the matter.

Additionally, the Commission has also requested feedback from foreign accountancy bodies such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The CCP is still awaiting a response from the two parties in this regard.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.