Audits. Value-added assessments.
Auditing is an integral part of our corporate governance. Both internal and external auditors are used to provide independent assessments of our operations and internal controls.
Our Internal Audit function comprises a team of around 400 professionals, substantially all of whom are directly involved in auditing activities. The Head of Internal Audit reports directly to the Audit Committee Chair and the Audit Committee directs and oversees the activities of the Internal Audit function.
Internal Audit performs an independent and objective assurance function that is designed to add value to our operations. Using a systematic and disciplined approach, the Internal Audit team evaluates and enhances the effectiveness of our risk management, control and governance processes.
Internal Audit is responsible for carrying out periodic audits in line with the Internal Audit Charter (PDF), which is approved by the Audit Committee and available publicly. It regularly and independently assesses the risk exposure of our various business activities, taking into account industry trends, strategic and organizational decisions, best practice and regulatory matters. Based on the results of its assessment, Internal Audit develops detailed annual audit objectives, defining key risk themes and specifying resource requirements for approval by the Audit Committee.
As part of its efforts to achieve best practice, Internal Audit regularly benchmarks its methods and tools against those of its peers. In addition, it submits periodic internal reports and summaries thereof to the management teams as well as the Chairman and the Audit Committee Chair. The Head of Internal Audit reports to the Audit Committee at least quarterly and more frequently as appropriate. Internal Audit coordinates its operations with the activities of the external auditor for maximum effect.
The Audit Committee annually assesses the performance and effectiveness of the Internal Audit function. For 2022, the Audit Committee concluded that the Internal Audit function was effective and independent, with the appropriate resources to deliver against the Internal Audit Charter (PDF).
External audit forms an integral part of the Bank’s corporate governance framework and plays a key role by providing an independent assessment of our operations and internal controls. The Bank retains a single global audit firm as its principal external auditor to perform both the statutory (financial) audit and the regulatory audit work mandated by FINMA. The AGM elects the statutory auditor annually, while the Board is responsible for the appointment of the regulatory auditor. Our principal external auditor is PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Zurich, Switzerland. The mandate was first given to PwC for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020. The Bank is not subject to mandatory external audit firm rotation requirements; however, the lead audit partners are subject to periodic rotation requirements. Audit partner rotation is key to ensuring the highest level of audit quality.
In addition, we have mandated BDO AG, Fabrikstrasse 50, 8031 Zurich, Switzerland, as special auditor for the purposes of issuing the legally required report for capital increases in accordance with Article 652f of the Swiss Code of Obligations, mainly relating to the valuation of companies in consideration of the qualified capital increases involving contributions in kind.
The Audit Committee is responsible for the oversight of the external auditor. The external auditor reports directly to the Audit Committee and the Board with respect to its audit of the Bank’s financial statements and is ultimately accountable to the shareholders. The Audit Committee pre-approves the retention of, and fees paid to, the external auditor for all audit and non-audit services.