BUSINESS : More directors disqualified since accounting reform

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The Independent Online
The number of directors banned or disqualified from running limited companies shot up by nearly 50 per cent in 1996, according to figures released yesterday by the Department of Trade and Industry. Last year, 946 directors were disqualified as unfit, up from 633 in 1995, while actions were started against 1,376 - 20 per cent more than the year before.

Of those, 273 were banned by the courts from running companies for a range of offences, including embezzlement and dishonest accounting. Commenting on the disqualification figures, John Taylor, the DTI's corporate and consumer affairs minister, said: "High standards are essential to sustain the confidence of suppliers, creditors, employees, and investors."

He said the rise in disqualifications was partly due to new reporting standards introduced last September which make it easier for insolvency accountants to identify and report misconduct.

News of the increase came as the DTI confirmed it would be attempting to disqualify 10 directors of Barings, the investment bank which lost more than pounds 800m through the actions of the rogue trader, Nick Leeson.