The English ICA professional standards office is facing a deluge of further complaints caused by breaches relating to pensions accounts, as auditors increasingly fall foul of new laws governing pensions. The surge in the number of complaints is a result of the Pensions Act 1995, which stipulates that pension fund accounts must be audited within seven months of their year ends. During the past four months more than 20 complaints have been made against auditing firms for breaching pensions laws. This follows more than 130 auditors reported to their professional bodies by the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Agency last year. Speaking at last week’s institute council meeting, PSO chief Peter Wyman told members that auditors were not deliberately avoiding their responsibilities but the institute had to see that statutory duties were properly carried out by member firms. He warned council there was a ‘huge number’ of complaints still in the pipeline after the 1995 Pensions Act put responsibility on auditors for pension schemes. ‘It is clear that the responsibilities imposed by the act have not been understood by the auditing profession and there are large numbers of companies where responsibilities have not been carried out,’ Wyman said. ‘Better explanation to the firms involved might have avoided this position in the first place,’ he added. OPRA has made it quite clear it is satisfied with the way the institute has dealt with the situation.
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