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Thursday 27 June 2013

13-156MR Wickham auditor removed from industry

ASIC has cancelled the registration of the auditor of Wickham Securities Limited following the collapse of the $30 million property lender.

Under an enforceable undertaking (EU) with ASIC, Brian Patrick Kingston of Bapaume, Queensland, has agreed to never reapply for registration or perform any duties or functions of an auditor.

‘Auditors are important gatekeepers – investors rely on what auditors do and naturally expect their work to be top quality,’ ASIC Commissioner John Price said.

‘Mr Kingston clearly failed in his job.

‘ASIC will not tolerate inferior work and is determined to lift standards within the auditing profession.’

Wickham collapsed on 21 December 2012. On 27 September 2012 Mr Kingston issued an unqualified audit opinion on the financial report of Wickham for the year ended 30 June 2012.

ASIC formed the view that, in respect of the audit, Mr Kingston failed to carry out or perform adequately and properly the duties of an auditor. In particular, ASIC was concerned the audit was not conducted in accordance with the Australian Auditing Standards because:

  • sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support material financial balances contained in the 2012 financial report was not obtained

  • an unqualified audit opinion was rendered without sufficient appropriate audit evidence supporting the appropriateness of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the 2012 financial report

  • an adequate level of professional scepticism was not exercised in auditing the recoverability of loan assets and assessing going concern, and reliance was placed on representations from Wickham management and directors without having performed appropriate audit procedures to corroborate or confirm those representations, and

  • key audit planning, execution and completion procedures were not performed or documented by Mr Kingston.

ASIC’s investigation into the collapse of Wickham, and Sherwin Financial Planners Pty Ltd and related entities continues.

Download the EU