The capital markets regulator has reiterated that it has powers to take action against auditors who act in a manner that is detrimental to the interests of public shareholders.
Speaking at a function organised by the Association of Investment Bankers of India (AIBI), the umbrella body of merchant bankers, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman Ajay Tyagi said if those who audit listed entities do not do their job properly, then, they should not be allowed to audit listed companies.
Our position is very simple. If they are auditing listed companies based on which investors are investing and if we find that that work has not been done properly and in investors interest, then audit firms should not be allowed to audit listed companies for some time, said Mr. Tyagi. It is our parliamentary mandate, I would say, to see that it is done and there is no trouble there. It goes to the basic issue of investor protection being the parliamentary mandate of SEBI, he added.
He, however, added that SEBI was not the regulatory body that registers auditors and the capital markets regulator was not eyeing any such authority.
Its not our case that SEBI is the agency which registers or regulates the auditors. It is nothing like that...We are not de-registering auditors. We dont have the authority and we dont wish to have that authority, he said.
SC sets aside SAT order
Interestingly, the SEBI chiefs statements come close on the heels of the Supreme Court setting aside an order by the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) which, while hearing an appeal filed by Price Waterhouse (PW), ruled that the capital markets regulator does not that have the authority to bar auditors.
In January 2018, SEBI had barred PW from auditing listed entities for two years for its alleged role in the Satyam Computers matter.