Audit Independence.

English ICA member firms and their senior partners were warned yesterday they face an inquiry into their compliance with institute rules on ethics, writes Lucinda Kemeny. The belated move by the institute is part of the continuing fallout on this side of the Atlantic of the controversial crackdown by the US Securities and Exchange Commission on firms that breach ethical rules with regard to audits of listed companies. Announcing the investigation at a council meeting yesterday Peter Wyman, chairman of the English ICA’s professional standards office, said the move was a tough response to the SEC’s attack . But he said he did not expect the investigation to uncover widespread problems. ‘We really do not think that there is an issue in the UK but we are setting up a working party to make sure that the current rules are appropriate.’ The institute came under fire for failing to react to the SEC, which last week forced the resignation of PricewaterhouseCoopers head of transaction services Geoff Westmore. The Joint Monitoring Unit of the three chartered institutes will carry out the review, though Wyman stressed it already conducts regular reviews of members’ compliance. The initiatives will form part of a major policy and internal review at the institute which also includes a restructuring of the professional standards office to place more emphasis on creating a policy department.

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