Our Internal Audit function comprises a team of around 350 professionals, substantially all of whom are directly involved in auditing activities. The Head of Internal Audit, Rafael Lopez Lorenzo, reports directly to the Audit Committee chairman.
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) approved by the Audit Committee. 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 chairman. 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 2017, the Audit Committee concluded that the Internal Audit was effective.