PracticeAccounting FirmsBig Four issues warning over auditor liability

Big Four issues warning over auditor liability

Big Four chiefs this morning met with trade secretary Patricia Hewitt to discuss the increasingly pressing issue of auditor liability.

Link: Liability cap special report

Reports claim that senior partners have issued a warning to the trade department that they will refuse to audit the accounts of banks and insurers, deemed as high risk, unless ministers find a way to limit their liability.

Deloitte chairman Martin Scicluna, Mike Rake of KPMG, Kieran Poynter, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers and Peter Wyman, senior partner at PwC all attended from the Big Four firms, which audit the majority of the FTSE350 companies.

Also attending was Chris Connor of Robson Rhodes, who represented the mid-tier firms’ interests and ICAEW chief executive Eric Anstee.

With several firms facing massive audit liability claims and the memory of Andersen’s collapse still fresh in their minds, the Big Four have been heavily lobbying ministers to find a way to reduce the liability of auditors.

The perfect opportunity to enshrine any changes in law would be as part of the ongoing overhaul of companies law. But the Department of Trade and Industry is due to make an announcement soon on reforms to the Companies Act and the issue of auditor liability remains unresolved.

A spokesperson for the DTI said: ‘We are due to make an announcement soon, but to parliament.’

Parliament reconvenes tomorrow.

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