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Swiss pension supervisor ‘overstepped authority’ with audit proposal

first_imgIn 2015 OAK carried out a comprehensive survey of the quality of external audit reports and found a high error rate. It subsequently issued a draft directive laying down requirements for auditors, which the cabinet noted was strongly criticised by associations and authorities.The government was subsequently commissioned to check whether OAK’s directive was in line with its legal authority and to potentially consider adjustments. Today’s report is the outcome of that review process.It reaching its conclusions the government also had the input of an opinion from an independent expert, Thomas Gächter of the University of Zurich, although it effectively disagreed with his view that OAK should be denied any authority to give instructions to auditors.If the supervisor were only permitted to issue recommendations, it would ultimately not be able to fulfil its task of making sure that the occupational pension system as a whole was functioning reliably, according to the government.However, the statutory authority to issue directives only applied to those that were needed for quality assurance, it noted in its report. It did not extend to issuing stipulations relating to the admission of auditors, which was the responsibility of the federal audit supervisor.The audit authority has previously warned about weaknesses in the auditing of the country’s pension funds. The Swiss federal pensions regulator “exceeded its legal authority” when it proposed requirements that related to the admission of external auditors of occupational pension funds, according to the country’s government.Although the Oberaufsichtskommission (OAK BV) was allowed to issue certain technical instructions to pension fund auditors as part of its statutory mandate, the introduction of a special permit for examining pension funds was a matter for lawmakers, the federal council said in a report published today.However, it was in agreement with the OAK that there were issues that need to be addressed with regard to the auditing of occupational pension funds, as previously outlined by the regulator.The cabinet had therefore instructed the federal department for internal affairs to weigh possible legislative steps, including whether the federal audit supervisory authority should be assigned sole responsibility for admitting and supervising auditors of occupational pension funds.last_img read more

Venus Williams may follow Serena in ending Indian Wells boycott

Venus Williams has boycotted the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells since 2001 but said she may follow her younger sister Serena’s lead and return to the event next year.Serena competed in the tournament earlier this month for the first time since a 2001 final that was marred by the behaviour of spectators who booed and heckled the American and her family.The reaction was in apparent response to Venus having withdrawn from that year’s semi-final versus Serena just minutes before the match, citing injury.”I have heard so much about how much the tournament has just improved in general in terms of the fans and the players. So it will be something to see for me,” Venus, 34, said after beating Caroline Wozniacki to reach the Miami Open quarter-finals.Serena received a standing ovation at the start of her first match back at Indian Wells where she reached the semi-finals before withdrawing due to a knee problem.Venus said she was delighted to see how her sister handled the return and the response she received from the crowd. “It was wonderful to see. I definitely watched every moment, and it was great to see her and my family there,” said Venus.”Next year will be a big year for us being an Olympic year. I can’t exactly say what my schedule will be, but it was wonderful to see her reception.”In 2001, spectators at Indian Wells booed Serena during the final and jeered her sister and father Richard Williams when the pair arrived to watch the match.Richard Williams alleged he had heard racist taunts. “As I said I think the tournament’s amazing. I also said next year is an Olympic year, so my whole focus is on trying to get to the Olympics,” said Venus.”It would be awesome to return, but I don’t know what my schedule is next year. It’s going to be all around that.” Serena, 33, welcomed the notion of her sister heading back to the California tournament.”She would get a wonderful welcome, I would think,” Serena said after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the last-eight in Miami.”We will see how the schedule works out for her and for me both.”– read more