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Controlling the audit merry-go-round

Controlling the audit merry-go-round

(Singapore) - Singapore's central bank now requires banks to change auditors every five years, a move that will break the positioning PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) holds as provider of audit services to the country's big three local banks. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is making it mandatory for Singapore incorporated banks to rotate their auditors periodically as a means of improving the independence and effectiveness of external audits.

United Overseas Bank (UOB), Singapore's largest domestic lender, for example has not changed auditors for 67 years since the Bank began in 1935.

MAS notes that "frequent rotation of auditors is expensive and time-consuming" and "also recognises that auditors take time to gain familiarity with a bank and that some degree of continuity strengthens the audit". "We need to balance the desire to provide continuity and contain costs with the need to enhance audit independence and bring fresh perspectives to the audit process," according to the Regulator.

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