Press Statement: Concerns over appointment of PwC by SingPost as special auditor

Date: February 4, 2016

There have been serious concerns about the appointment of PwC as the special auditor by SingPost to review the circumstances surrounding the acquisitions of the three entities of the Famous Group by SingPost. There have been questions raised about PwC’s independence because they are the current and long time external auditors. SIAS is not taking these concerns lightly.

While an external auditor is not precluded from providing non-audit services to an audit client, the external auditor has to comply with the requirements of the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities (“ACRA Code”) to ensure that it remains independent. Requirements of the ACRA Code include an assessment of threats to independence and to apply safeguards where necessary.

SIAS understands from ACRA that it has communicated clearly to PwC that the requirements of the ACRA Code must be met and that any necessary safeguards must be applied to ensure the independence of PwC, whether acting as the external auditor signing off on the financial statements of SingPost, or in their capacity as the special auditor. SIAS further understands that ACRA will take the necessary regulatory action if the requirements of the ACRA Code are not met.

In view of the above, SIAS calls on all parties concerned to allow PwC to conduct the special audit, knowing that PwC will maintain its independence in strict compliance with the ACRA Code. Given the high reputation and the credibility of PwC, SIAS expects that PwC will be able to remain independent in undertaking the special audit and hence address all serious concerns of the stakeholders surrounding PwC’s appointment.

David Gerald
Founder, President & CEO
Securities Investors Association (Singapore)