Accounting FirmsRegulators

FRC to investigate Saffery Champness over Greensill audits

The decision was made following a meeting of the council’s Conduct Committee on 15 June 2021 with the investigation being conducted by the council’s enforcement division under the Audit Enforcement Procedure

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has commenced an investigation into Saffery Champness in relation to its audit of the financial statements of Greensill Capital (UK) Limited for the year ended 31 December 2019.

The decision was made following a meeting of the council’s Conduct Committee on 15 June 2021 with the investigation being conducted by the council’s enforcement division under the Audit Enforcement Procedure.

Greensill collapsed earlier this year with Chris Laverty, Trevor O’Sullivan and Will Stagg of Grant Thornton UK being appointed as joint administrators.

Following its closure, it was revealed by the BBC that former prime minister David Cameron had “unsuccessfully” sought loans from senior members of the government and former colleagues on behalf of the company.

Its founder, Lex Greensill, was an adviser to the government during Cameron’s term as prime minister.

A spokesperson for Saffery Champness said: “As professional accountants we owe a duty of confidentiality to present and former clients and, with this matter the subject of investigation, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time save to say that Saffery Champness will of course be cooperating fully with the FRC.”

They added that audit quality is an “absolute priority” for the firm and that the group is “committed” to upholding the “high professional standards” its clients expect.

The council also announced that it had begun an investigation into PwC’s audit of Wyelands Bank for the year ended 30 April 2019.

The bank was predominantly owned by Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, who bought Wyelands, formerly known as Tungsten Bank, in 2016 for £30m.

In February this year, following an investigation by the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority, Wyelands was forced to hand back £210m in deposits to customers amid concerns for its financial position.

A spokesperson for PwC stated: “It’s understandable that there is regulatory scrutiny in situations like this. We will cooperate fully with the FRC in its enquiries.

“We share the FRC’s commitment to audit quality and are two years into a wide-ranging programme to enhance audit quality across the firm.”

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