Section 166 of the Financial and Markets Act 2000 enables the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to require a firm to commission a report by a ‘skilled person’. The Section is derived from Section 39 Banking Act 1987, which permitted the Bank of England to require a bank to provide a report by a ‘reporting accountant’. This paper compares the role of the skilled person in UK financial services supervision with that of the previous role of reporting accountant in UK banking supervision. The paper examines inter alia early statistics on the FSA's use of skilled persons and discusses key findings of an empirical study on the role of skilled persons in UK financial services supervision. The paper finds that the FSA is only commissioning investigations on an exceptional basis. This finding is consistent with views expressed by regulators on how they intended to use the power. The paper concludes that banks, as banks, will have experienced considerable reduction of work and expense associated with section 39 reports. However, banks, as financial conglomerates incorporating insurance firms, or in former building societies, will be experiencing the threat of high-level scrutiny by an independent expert for the first time.