If an auditor is to carry out his duties properly, he needs to be independent of the firm he is auditing, so that he is not subject to conflicts of interest. Many firms are also subject to requirements under the Companies Act 1989, or the Companies Act 2006,1 the Building Societies Act 1986 or the Friendly Societies Act 1992 on auditor's independence.
If a firm becomes aware at any time that its auditor is not independent of the firm, it must take reasonable steps to ensure that it has an auditor independent of the firm. The firm must notify the FCA and the PRA (if it is a PRA-authorised firm) or the FCA (in all other cases) if independence is not achieved within a reasonable time.
The appropriate regulator will regard an auditor as independent if his appointment or retention does not breach the ethical guidance in current issue from the auditor's recognised supervisory body on the appointment of an auditor in circumstances which could give rise to conflicts of interest.