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Thursday 16 September 2021

21-250MR Halifax auditor’s registration cancelled

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.

Mr Evett was the lead auditor in EC Audit Pty Ltd’s (formerly Bentleys NSW Audit Pty Ltd) audits of Halifax’s profit and loss statements and balance sheets for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 financial years.

The CADB found that Mr Evett was not a fit and proper person to remain registered as an auditor and that in acting as the lead auditor on the Halifax audits he failed to adequately perform the duties and functions required of him.

In making its decision, the CADB found that, ‘Mr Evett’s conduct was not the result of what might be described as a momentary lapse or isolated incident. 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.

Mr Evett, who had been a registered company auditor since March 1995, did not contest the cancellation of his registration by the CADB.

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Reasons for decision

Background

On 17 August 2021 Mr Evett was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000 for failing to conduct audits in accordance with auditing standards following charges brought by ASIC (21-218MR).

Halifax was the holder of an Australian Financial Services licence and was required to lodge audited profit and loss statements and balance sheets with ASIC. The audits would ensure that Halifax was in compliance with its AFSL financial requirements based upon true and fair financial statements.

Halifax was placed in administration in November 2018. It entered liquidation in March 2019. ASIC cancelled Halifax’s AFSL in January 2021 (21-004MR )

Halifax clients used a number of trading platforms to invest in financial products described broadly as exchange traded financial products and ‘over-the-counter’ financial products. Further information on ASIC action regarding Halifax is on ASIC’s Halifax Key Matters page.

Last updated: 16/09/2021 12:05