November 30, 2017 / 7:36 AM / a year ago

UK accounting watchdog says was too slow to investigate HBOS audit

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Britain’s accounting watchdog said on Thursday it should have been faster in investigating KPMG’s 2008 audit of HBOS, just months before the bank had to be rescued by rival Lloyds during the global financial crisis.

The Financial Reporting Council said in September it was closing its investigation into the audit, saying it had found that KPMG’s work for HBOS, “did not fall significantly short of the standards reasonably to be expected”, but on Thursday called on parliament to make it easier to bring cases against an audit firm’s accountants.

“A learning point for the FRC is that we should have adopted a more proactive approach to our early enquiry in relation to HBOS rather than a heavy reliance on other regulators,” the FRC said in a letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of parliament’s Treasury Select Committee.

The FRC said it wanted to make it easier to take action against accountants for breaches of relevant rules. Currently it has to demonstrate there has been misconduct to an independent tribunal, a higher hurdle. (Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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