News

21 June 2012
Press release

Reforming the supervision of audit companies in the financial sector

The quality of supervision of audit companies is to be strengthened. Consequently, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA and the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA) want to consolidate the supervision of audit companies with regard to financial and regulatory audits which had up to now been conducted separately, and concentrate it at the FAOA in a two-stage process. The Federal Council took the respective fundamental decision on 15 June 2012. 
Currently, both the FAOA and FINMA exercise supervisory functions over audit companies which means that their competence fields partly overlap. Based on experience over the last four years and lessons learned from the financial crisis, cooperation between the two authorities was examined for possible improvements. The FAOA and FINMA Boards of Directors subsequently adopted a proposal to reorganise the competence fields. According to that proposal, all FINMA’s competencies which concern the supervision of audit companies are to pass to the FAOA. The aim here is to avoid duplication of work, boost the efficiency of structures, pool expertise and improve the quality of supervision.

The transfer of competencies from FINMA to the FAOA will occur in two stages. Starting on 1 September 2012, the first step will be to intensify cooperation between both supervisory authorities and, the first transfer of competencies within the framework of current legislation will be made. The supervision of financial audits of listed banks, insurances and collective investment schemes will be performed by the FAOA from 1 September 2012. Assumption of the remaining responsibilities by the FAOA will follow in a second stage once Parliament has decided upon the necessary legislative adjustments. The concentration of forces will strengthen the Swiss financial market supervisory system in which audit companies have become increasingly important. The transfer of competencies in stages should also ensure a smooth transition for all parties involved.

Contact

Tobias Lux, Media Spokesperson, phone +41 (0)31 327 91 71, tobias.lux@finma.ch