PwC in UK says it’s clean

The report, commissioned by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, revealed ‘widespread independence non-compliance’ at PwC. Thousands of staff and partners were found to be holding shares issued by public companies audited by PwC in contravention of independence rules.

A spokesman for the firm said: ‘This is a US matter but one we take very seriously in the UK. We adhere to all UK independence rules and we continually review our compliance position to ensure that this continues to be the case. There is not a single case of any UK partner or manager owning shares in an audit client they worked on.’

While the SEC has no jurisdiction over the large international accountancy firms outside the US, it said it had identified problems that ‘suggest not only a lack of sufficient global safeguards, but also a systematic failure by professionals within certain firms to adhere to even their own firm’s existing controls’.

In a letter to the firm’s partners, Nicholas Moore, PwC’s chairman, and chief executive James Schiro said: ‘This report will be embarrassing to our firm and to all of us as partners. Equally important, it may also raise questions and concerns among our clients and our people.’

Related reading