FSA switches auditors

A government decision to force the Financial Services Authority to change auditor will save the regulator almost £100,000 a year. Under pressure from MPs, the FSA is to replace accountants Grant Thornton with the National Audit Office.

The NAO produced last year's critical report on the rescue of Northern Rock and ministers decided the state-controlled body should audit the FSA's annual report.

The switch means the regulator will save the fee it pays to commercial auditors because the NAO does not charge other arms of government. Grant Thornton received £85,000 for last year's audit plus £8,000 for other work but in 2008 received a total of £145,000. The firm will finish the accounts for the year ending next month before being replaced. A spokesman said: "We will complete our last audit: we're not being fired. This is no reflection on the work we've done."

The Public Accounts Committee recommended the switch after criticism of the FSA's performance before and after the start of the credit crunch.