Auditing of banks and securities dealers

Audit firms play a very important role in the ongoing regulatory auditing of banks and securities dealers. They assess full compliance with basic regulatory requirements from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. They also take account of all significant risks to which supervised institutions are individually exposed.

Within four months after the financial year ends, audit firms perform a thorough assessment of the risk situation to which each supervised institution is exposed, and submits a report to FINMA on a standard form. The risk analysis covers all audit fields with a view to determining net risk from a combination of the different risk factors.

Audit strategy matched to risk analysis

If the risk analysis highlights a low to medium net risk exposure in certain audit fields, the standard audit strategy will be applied with no restrictions. However, the audit strategy must be adapted for audit fields with a high to very high net risk exposure; the frequency of auditing may be increased and/or the audit depth intensified as described in Circular 2013/3 "Auditing". The audit firm itself may propose changes to the audit strategy if there are substantial reasons to do so.

Following receipt of the risk analysis, FINMA has two months in which to assess the documents and call for any change to the audit strategy that it considers necessary. Subsequently the audit firm has a further six months to implement the chosen audit strategy.


Audit firms provide the results of their audits to FINMA in a detailed, standardised report on the regulatory auditing of banks which includes general information about the audit procedure, a statement of the auditors’ independence and other information about the development of the respective institution’s business activity and its organisation. The report also contains statements by the audit firm on each individual audit field, and is rounded off with a detailed commentary on any irregularities discovered or recommendations for improvement made.

Audit mandataries

In specific circumstances, FINMA may appoint an audit mandatary. Audit mandataries may be other authorised audit firms or independent third parties in possession of the necessary experience and specialist expertise.


Annexes to Auditing Circular

Guidelines for Auditing Circular

Wegleitung Banken

Updated: 31.01.2017 Size: 0,11  MB
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Audit points
Audit points for other risks in connection with compliance issues

Valid from 1.7.2017

Updated: 06.02.2018 Size: 0,16  MB
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Bericht zur aufsichtsrechtlichen Prüfung für Banken

Anwendbar für die Berichterstattung ab 1.1.2018

Updated: 24.01.2018 Size: 0,2  MB
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Reporting of the banks’  ten largest borrowers: see Appendix 3 to FINMA Circ. 2008/14 "Supervisory Reporting — banks".

Submission of Auditing Circular

Audits for institutions seeking authorisation

Change of audit firm