Before a firm, to which SUP 3.3.2 R applies, appoints an auditor, it must take reasonable steps to ensure that the auditor has the required skill, resources and experience to perform his functions under the regulatory system and that the auditor:
is eligible for appointment as an auditor under Part II of the Companies Act 1989 or Part III of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 (Eligibility for appointment) where applicable, otherwise Chapters 1, 2 and 6 of Part 42 of the Companies Act 2006 2; or2
if appointed under an obligation in another enactment, is eligible for appointment as an auditor under that enactment; or
in the case of an overseas firm, is eligible for appointment as an auditor under any applicable equivalent laws of that country or territory.
An auditor which a firm proposes to appoint should have skills, resources and experience commensurate with the nature, scale and complexity of the firm's business and the requirements and standards under the regulatory system to which it is subject. A firm should have regard to whether its proposed auditor has expertise in the relevant requirements and standards (which may involve access to UK expertise) and possesses or has access to appropriate specialist skill, for example actuarial expertise in carrying out audits of insurance companies or friendly societies where appropriate. The firm should seek confirmation of this from the auditor concerned as appropriate.
If it appears to the FSA that an auditor of a firm has failed to comply with a duty imposed on him under the Act, it may disqualify him under section 345 of the Act. For more detail about what happens when the disqualification of an auditor is being considered or put into effect, see EG 151. A list of persons who are disqualified by the FSA under section 345 of the Act may be found on the FSA website (www.fsa.gov.uk).1
To enable it to assess the ability of an auditor to audit a firm, the FSA may seek information about the auditor's relevant experience and skill. The FSA will normally seek information by letter from an auditor who has not previously audited any firm. The firm should instruct the auditor to reply fully to the letter (and should not appoint an auditor who does not reply to the FSA). The FSA may also seek further information on a continuing basis from the auditor of a firm (see also the auditor's duty to cooperate under SUP 3.8.2 R).