IoD issues audit committee warning

EU proposals to make audit committees a mandatory requirement for all
companies could prove counter-productive, the Institute of Directors has warned.

Speaking in advance of a discussion by the European parliament’s legal
affairs committee, IoD director general Miles Templeman said that directors were
‘well aware’ of the need for companies to have effective audit committees, but
that the EU ‘should not make them mandatory’.

He added: ‘This proposal will significantly undermine the collective
responsibility of the members of unitary boards, seriously reduce the pool of
potential audit committee members, and ultimately make directors reluctant to
serve on audit committees.’

Templeman signalled his strong support for a letter to the European
parliament legal affairs committee’s rapporteur, Bert Doorn MEP, from the
European Confederation of Directors’ Association. The IoD is a member of ECODA,
together with directors’ organisations from France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Templeman added: ‘One of the main drivers for these proposals appears to be
the desire to bring the EU into line with US law, particularly Sarbanes-Oxley.
But even the US does not go as far as these provisions and operates on a ”
comply or explain” approach to the qualification of audit committee members.

‘There is no need to condemn the vast majority of EU companies to
inappropriate regulation and we call on the European parliament to reconsider
this damaging proposal.’

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