Former Halifax Investment Services Pty Ltd auditor Robert James Evett’s company auditor registration has been cancelled by the Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board (CADB) following an application by ASIC.
The cancellation comes after Mr Evett was fined $10,000 after pleading guilty to criminal charges for failing to ensure that audits of Halifax’s profit and loss statements and balance sheets for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 financial years met auditing standards.
As lead auditor in EC Audit Pty Ltd’s – formerly Bentleys NSW Audit Pty Ltd – audits of Halifax, ASIC contended that Mr Evett had breached auditing standards by failing to take responsibility for the overall conduct of the audits and failed to ensure that staff with appropriate skills were conducting the audits.
The CADB moved to cancel his registration after it determined that he was not a fit and proper person.
“Mr Evett’s conduct was not the result of what might be described as a momentary lapse or isolated incident,” said the CADB.
“Rather it was attributable in our view to a serious neglect on his part to perform his duties, especially the significant responsibilities of Engagement Partner, Lead Auditor and the Lead Assurance Practitioner in the three Halifax Audits, with very serious consequences.”
The CADB found that had Mr Evett performed his duties as required, errors in Halifax’s 2017 financial statements would have been identified and Halifax would have been required to cease trading until it could demonstrate that it met the capital requirements of its financial services licence.
Halifax was placed in administration in November 2018 and entered liquidation by March 2019.
Mr Evett, who had been a registered company auditor since March 1995, did not contest the cancellation of his registration by the CADB.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.