Registration revoked for Halifax auditor

One of Australia’s first auditors to be fined for failing to comply with auditing standards has had his company auditor registration cancelled following an application by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Robert James Evett, former Halifax Investment Services lead auditor, had his company auditor registration revoked by the Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board (CADB) after a request was submitted by ASIC.

In August, Evett was fined $10,000 while EC Audit was fined $40,000 for its charges relating to audits of profit and loss of Halifax Investment Services Pty, for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 financial years.

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The breaches included Evett failing to take responsibility for the overall conduct of the audits and for ensuring skilled staff were conducting the audits while EC Audit failed to understand Halifax’s business and design appropriate tests to identify material misstatements.

The CADB found Evett was not a fit and proper person to remain registered as an auditor and that in acting as the lead auditor on the Halifax audits he failed to adequately perform the duties and functions required of him.

In making its decision, the CADB found: “Evett’s conduct was not the result of what might be described as a momentary lapse or isolated incident. Rather it was attributable in our view to a serious neglect on his part to perform his duties, especially the significant responsibilities of engagement partner, lead auditor and the lead assurance practitioner in the three Halifax Audits, with very serious consequences”.

The CADB found that had Evett performed his duties as required, errors in Halifax’s 2017 financial statements would have been identified and Halifax would have been required to cease trading until it could demonstrate that it met the capital requirements of its financial services licence.

Evett, who had been a registered company auditor since March 1995, did not contest the cancellation of his registration by the CADB.

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