top of page

BFSI Industry is building pressure upon RBI to defer auditors’ new guidelines for a year

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) came out with fresh guidelines for the new Financial Year 2021-2022 last month, when it found the debacle of banks and NBFCs like Yes Bank, IL&FS, and Dewan Housing where the four auditors were present. The RBI new guidelines cover rules regarding the appointment of auditors and joint auditors, the number of auditors, eligibility criteria, tenure, and compulsory rotation period.

The Banking and financial services industry (BFSI) is building pressure upon the Reserve Bank of India to defer the new auditors’ norm and guidelines for a year.

The BFSI industry faced with restructuring and asset quality issues is insisting that they need time as they are preoccupied with other business issues due to COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, the companies are finding it challenging to get the right pool of auditors as many big firms are out of the reckoning because of the three-year rule.

The new norms restrict the appointment of auditors only for a period of three years. There is a long six years cool-off period which means many large banks and NBFCs will be out of the ambit of big auditing firms.

The earlier pool of auditors included firms like EY, KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, BDO, and Grant Thornton. In fact, the BFSI industry engages with these players for non-audit work like consultancy, valuations, and other M&A transactions.

The RBI brought this rule from the governance perspective, which is good for the market. In fact, recent instances had threatened financial stability. Post-IL&FS, the entire NBFC industry faced asset-liability mismatches as short-term funds dried out. Similarly, the RBI and the government have to bring together half a dozen banks to save the private sector Yes Bank.

However, the auditors' community has stated that the tenure of three years as fixed by the RBI is inconsistent with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, under which two terms of five years each is permitted. In addition, the insurance regulator IRDAI also follows the Companies Act to fix tenure of auditors for insurance companies. The prescribed cooling off period of six years is inconsistent with the requirement under the Companies Act, 2013, wherein five years is prescribed.

This new rule will open up the BFSI audit work for other large auditing firms, though impacting the big four auditing firms, which do both audit and non-audit work for big banks and NBFCs.

Auditing firms, banks and NBFCs are also requesting the RBI to relax the restrictions on the number of companies an audit firm can audit. Under the new norms, only four companies are available for audit as against eight earlier which included four each for private and foreign banks. There are eight NBFCs available under the new norms whereas there was no limit earlier.


bottom of page