General Regulation

Print

Listed companies & corporate financing Financial & accounting disclosures: Statutory auditors

Statutory auditors

Published on May 28, 2013

Statutory auditors inspect company accounts, ensuring they show a true and fair view. As such, they play a central role in the publication of regulated information and during corporate finance transactions. As part of its task of supervising the quality of published financial disclosures, the AMF regularly exchanges information with statutory auditors. In addition, the AMF assists the national auditors’ oversight board (H3C) in performing periodic inspections of statutory auditors appointed to persons or organisations under AMF jurisdiction.

Statutory auditors & the AMF

Statutory auditors, which belong to France’s national institute of statutory auditors (CNCC), have the legal task of auditing company accounts. They detail their work in a reasoned report in which they give and justify their opinion as to whether the accounts show a true and fair view of the company’s situation.

Statutory auditors must comply with legal and regulatory provisions as well as with the CNCC’s professional rules. They conduct their activities in compliance with standards of professional practice and their code of business conduct.

Relations between the AMF and statutory auditors are chiefly defined by Article L.621-22 of the Monetary and Financial Code, which lays down a series of provisions for statutory auditors auditing persons whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market or whose financial securities are offered to the public on an organised multilateral trading facility (OMTF).

These provisions cover:

  • the appointment, reappointment and resignation of statutory auditors,
  • the duty of statutory auditors to make disclosures to the AMF,
  • the respective rights of the AMF and the statutory auditor to request information.

Oversight of statutory auditors

To enhance the oversight of market participants and statutory auditors, H3C and the AMF signed a cooperation agreement on 11 January 2010 setting out the procedures for the AMF to assist in performing periodic inspections of statutory auditors appointed to persons or organisations under AMF jurisdiction. The agreement also covers the arrangements for sharing information held and gathered by the authorities when carrying out their respective duties.

Article L.821-9 of the Commercial Code provides that the AMF shall assist in the periodic inspections to which statutory auditors auditing the accounts of persons under AMF jurisdiction are subject.

Tasks assigned to H3C
Reporting to the Justice Minister, H3C is an independent supervisory authority that oversees the audit industry, aided by the CNCC.
France’s lawmakers gave H3C two basic tasks: oversee the industry and ensure compliance with business conduct requirements, particularly on auditor independence.
To carry out its tasks, H3C is required to:
> organise inspections of auditors;
> issue opinions on the industry’s code of business conduct;
> issue opinions on standards of professional practice;
> identify and promote best professional practices;
> establish and supervise guidance and the framework for periodic inspections.
It acts as the appeal body for the regional institutes in the areas of enforcement and registration. 

Inspections are carried out under the conditions and according to procedures determined by H3C, either by inspectors who are not statutory auditors and who are placed under the authority of its general secretary and a director, or by the CNCC or the regional institutes.
The assistance provided by the AMF enables the two authorities to:

  • coordinate inspections,
  • share analyses on specific topics,
  • share inspection findings so that they can exercise their respective powers,
  • find out about action taken after inspections.
     

H3C and the AMF may also, if they jointly decide, include other competent authorities in information-sharing provided for under the agreement.
The agreement states that only information needed to properly perform the task of supervising auditors will be exchanged, with the exclusion of documents issued by entities under AMF supervision.

Page top

Legal information
Head of publications: The Executive Director of AMF Communication Directorate.
Contact: Communication Directorate – Autorité des marches financiers 17 place de la Bourse – 75082 Paris cedex 02