The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) recently announced the coming into force of the Capital Markets and Services (Amendment) Act 2015 (CMSA) and Securities Commission (Amendment) Act 2015 (SCMA Amendments) on 15 September 2015. The SCMA Amendments, among others, amended the provisions relating to the Audit Oversight Board (AOB) as provided under Part IIIA of the SCMA.
The amendments are a result of SC’s continuous review of the securities laws to ensure that they remain relevant and are in tandem with the changes that are occurring in the capital market. The key changes are discussed further below.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SCMA AMENDMENTS
1. Public Interest Entities and Schedule Funds
To elevate the standards of auditors and quality of financial statements, the Audit Oversight Board’s regulatory reach is now extended to capital market institutions which includes exchanges, clearing house, a self-regulatory organisation recognised under the securities law, etc., and schedule funds.
The SCMA Amendments introduced a new category of “schedule funds” consisting of funds under unit trust schemes and private retirement schemes, and any other capital market funds as may be specified by the SC. As a result of this, auditors who audit schedule funds would now be subject to AOB’s registration and supervision regime.
The list of the capital market institutions and schedule funds is set out under Schedule 1 of the SCMA.
2. Removal of Requirement for Renewal of Registration
The SCMA Amendments have also removed the requirement for renewal of registration of auditor.
In this respect, registered auditors will now be required to submit an annual declaration as at 30 June each year and the registration fee of RM5,000 per individual auditor by the anniversary of their respective registration dates.
3. Expansion of Grounds for Revocation of Registration or Recognition
With the amendments made to the registration regime, the SCMA Amendments have also empowered AOB to revoke or suspend registration, or withdraw or suspend recognition, when there is a failure by the auditor to pay any fee as specified by the AOB.
4. Expansion of AOB’s functions – Reporting Accountants
The oversight functions of the AOB are expanded to include any person who prepares a report in relation to financial information of public interest entities or schedule funds, in relation to capital market activities. This includes a Reporting Accountant who prepares reports on financial information that is incorporated into a prospectus.
5. AOB’s Inspection
The SCMA Amendments clarified that an inspection is also conducted to assess the sufficiency and appropriateness of the audit evidence obtained in relation to the audit report prepared by an auditor relating to the audited financial statements of public interest entities or schedule funds.
The SCMA further empowered the AOB to direct the auditor to take any remedial measure to rectify matters raised in the inspection report where there is a concern that audit evidence obtained are not sufficient and appropriate to support the audit opinion.
6. Sharing of AOB Findings with Public Interest Entities and Schedule Funds
The SCMA empowered AOB to share its inspections or inquiry findings with any public interest entity or schedule fund if AOB considers that such sharing may enhance the quality and reliability of the audited financial statements.
The sharing will facilitate the board of directors of a public interest entity or fund managers to have more meaningful conversation and engagement with their auditors and drive audit quality.
The SCMA Amendments are effectively in force from 15 September 2015.
Audit firms and individual auditors registered with the AOB are given a period of three (3) months from the date of operationalisation of the SCMA Amendments to ensure compliance with the new requirements.
The SCMA Amendments can be downloaded from the SC website here. You may also refer to the “Frequently Asked Questions” sections in the SC website for further clarification and to facilitate your understanding and compliance with the amendments.
If you have any queries relating to this matter, please contact the AOB office at 03-2091 0666.
30 September 2015