PricewaterhouseCoopers has apologised on behalf of its predecessor firm, Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, for its role in the Maxwell affair.
Coopers was slammed by the Department of Trade & Industry’s report on the collapse of the Maxwell empire over its audit of the pension funds and as reporting accountants on the float of Mirror Group Newspapers.
Commissioned in 1992, the report cost #10m to produce and amounted to more than 700 pages.
The report said: ‘The practices in the pension funds which we have identified were known to Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte. They and other professional advisers and houses were closely involved with the directors of Mirror Group Newspapers in preparing Mirror Group Newspapers for flotation: all these bear … responsibilities for the failure to make Mirror Group Newspapers suitable for listing and the inaccuracies in the prospectus.’
A spokesman for PwC said the firm accepted the criticism, adding it had clearly fallen short of its own high standards. ‘We are extremely sorry,’ he said.
He added the report would act as a constant reminder of the need to be vigilant, adding that since the scandal 10 years ago they had learnt lessons and made amendments to their procedures. But he said the firm had been the subject of a deliberate deceit.
The firm, which has already been fined #1.2m plus costs of #2.1m by an accountant’s Joint Disciplinary Tribunal, made a substantial contribution to the Maxwell pension funds, believed to be in the region of #60m, and paid an out of court settlement of #68m with the Maxwell liquidators at Grant Thornton.
For more on the Maxwell affair turn to page 4
Report details at www.accountancyage.com/News/1119941.
WHO EARNED WHAT?
Samuel Montagu: #3.5m
Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte: #1.48m
Clifford Chance: #1.2m
Salomon Brothers International: #1.0m
Smith New Court: #0.75m
Dewe Rogerson: #0.54m
Linklaters & Paines: #0.48m
Source: DTI’s Maxwell report
WHO WAS FINED?
Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte: #1.2m + #2.1m costs
Goldman Sachs: #160,000 + SFA’s costs
Lehman Brothers: #80,000 + SFA’s costs
Montagu Investment Management #750,000 + costs
Capel Cure Myers: #150,000 + costs.
Just one half of UK practices have implemented a pricing structure around auto enrolment implementation and advice - with many suffering increased costs
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast
Accountants should alter their perspective on auto-enrolment to maximise business opportunities, according to Eric Clapton.
Kevin Reed discusses whether new accountancy group Cogital can rival the Big Four...and its likely direction of travel