ASIC, Auditing

Auditor disqualified for independence breach

SMSF auditor disqualified

ASIC has disqualified the SMSF auditor registration of a Sydney-based practitioner who was found to be lacking independence and failed to obtain evidence when required to do so.

A Sydney-based SMSF auditor has been disqualified from acting in that capacity after breaching independence and auditing standards.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) stated Gordon Victor Shrubsole, of Miranda in Sydney’s south, lacked independence when he audited a close family member’s fund.

The corporate regulator added Shrubsole was also deficient in planning audits,  failed to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support the valuation of assets and issued auditor reports that were not in the approved form.

Shrubsole will now be listed in the public register of disqualified SMSF auditors.

ASIC took the action after information about Shrubsole was referred to it by the ATO under section 128P of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act.

The two bodies work together as co-regulators of SMSF auditors, with the ATO monitoring SMSF auditor conduct and referring matters to ASIC for possible action, such as disqualification or suspension of their registration.

This action was the first against an SMSF auditor in 2021 after ASIC disqualified one auditor for not being a fit and proper person as he was bankrupt and added conditions to the registration of five others in February 2020 for either deficiencies in maintaining auditor independence or in their auditing work.

In April 2020, ASIC disqualified four auditors for significant auditor independence breaches and added conditions to the registration of two others for deficiencies in auditing the valuation of fund assets.

It also disqualified 36 auditors in August last year and added conditions to the registration of a further six after they failed to maintain an appropriate level of audit experience, and in September added conditions to the registration of two SMSF auditors for auditor independence breaches and audit quality deficiencies.

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