Bank auditors must pay levy to independent watchdog
BANK auditors will have to pay a new levy to a watchdog to prevent a repeat of the errors made during the economic boom.
There have been widespread complaints that auditors signed off on the accounts of banks during the economic boom without reporting any major concerns.
Despite getting the so-called 'clean audits', these banks later ended up on the brink of collapse and required a €64bn taxpayer bailout.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the new levy would allow the supervision of auditors to be carried out independently rather than by accountancy bodies in the industry.
"Clearly, the disaster of the last number of years has underlined the need to make sure that compliance is to the very highest standards and that's what this is about," he said.
The new levy will apply to bank auditors, as well as to auditors of the accounts of insurance companies and publicly listed companies.
It will cover the full cost of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority carrying out extensive checks on their work.
The levy is contained in Mr Bruton's new Companies Bill, which is before the Seanad this week.
Mr Bruton said he was confident that the inspections would be thorough enough to ensure that quality auditing was carried out.
"This is becoming much more forensic in the oversight.
"In the past, there has been a reliance on professional bodies themselves to oversee.
"This is now introducing a level of quality control by an independent agency.
"That's really important," he said.