A meeting on Tuesday between investors, the ICAEW and Big Four firms, hosted by DTI minister Jacqui Smith, worked out a conceptual framework that could lead to changes that would allow firms to negotiate proportionate liability by contract.
Investors even suggested that auditors should face greater protection from defamation claims. ‘The minister, ICAEW and firm’s representatives have seen value in making the UK’s governance and reporting model work,’ an investor at the meeting told Accountancy Age.
Another said that from ‘fighting a rearguard losing battle’, there was now a close alliance of values between investors and auditors.
During the meeting it was agreed that the government would look into several issues including the flow, quality and timeliness of shareholder information and ways to empower shareholders to question auditors.
A study into improving the transparency around an engagement letter and greater disclosure in an auditor’s resignation letter was also promised.
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