Ban on PwC stays for now

Mumbai: The Securities Appellate Tribunal on Friday refused to grant a stay on the two-year Sebi ban imposed on PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and its network entities from taking up new audit work for listed companies.

However, in a relief to PwC, the SAT clarified audit assignments already undertaken by the firm for clients who follow the financial year beginning January 1, 2018 will not be impacted by the order of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

The tribunal further pointed out PwC can carry out its assignments for the current fiscal.

PwC had filed an appeal with the tribunal against the Sebi order on Wednesday. The matter will now be heard on February 13.

"We are happy that (the) SAT has expressed its intention to resolve our appeal against Sebi on an expedited basis, and has set an expectation of a tight timeline of six weeks to dispose the appeal.

"The clarification that current engagements can continue through the year, is welcome. Over the years, our stakeholders have witnessed the huge investment we made in tools, training and infrastructure and we remain committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality in our services," a statement from PwC said.

At the hearing, the two-member SAT bench observed the Sebi order "shall not come in the way of audit assignments undertaken by PW and it network firms for fiscal 2017-18".

The tribunal also clarified assignments already undertaken by PwC for clients who follow the financial year beginning January 1, 2018 would not be impacted by the Sebi order.

"Similarly PW shall be at liberty to complete any other work of certification (besides audit) already in their hands," the SAT said.

However, it said PwC and its network firms "shall not take new assignments and new clients" adding the audit firm has to submit a list of its existing clients before the tribunal as well as a copy of the list to the market regulator.

In a 108-page order, Sebi had also directed the disgorgement of over Rs 13 crore wrongful gains by the auditing major and its two erstwhile partners who worked on the accounts of Satyam Computer Services.


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