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KPMG ousts head of consulting unit after conduct probe

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KPMG has
forced out the head of one of its core businesses after an investigation into
his conduct involving messages sent on WhatsApp.

Tim Howarth,
head of financial services consulting at KPMG, is the third senior partner to
be investigated by the firm this year over claims of misconduct.

KPMG
convened a disciplinary panel on Friday and then ousted Mr Howarth, whose
profile was removed from the firm’s website over the weekend. Two people
briefed on the matter said the matter related to messages sent via the WhatsApp
service.

Mr Howarth,
53, worked at KPMG for 15 years and was the lead partner for one of the firm’s
largest clients, Lloyds Banking Group. He also ran KPMG’s risk consulting
practice.

KPMG said:
“We hold all of our people to a very high standard and take swift and
appropriate action against any individual whose behaviour contravenes the
firm’s values. As part of this commitment, we can confirm conduct issues have
been raised related to a partner and, following an internal investigation and
disciplinary panel, that partner has left the firm. Under our process the
partner has appealed.”

Mr Howarth
said: “I am surprised by the KPMG announcement of the outcome of a disciplinary
panel, which is bizarre as the decision is under appeal. I have not been given
the reason for that decision. I had already resigned from the KPMG partnership.
I did not believe that the process was fair or would lead to a just outcome.
There is no complainant and there were no formal allegations pursued by
anyone.”

Prior to
joining KPMG, Mr Howarth worked at the Financial Services Authority, then the
industry regulator, for eight years in various policy roles. KPMG’s financial
services work, including consulting and audit, generated revenues of £681m last
year, making it one of the firm’s largest business lines. KPMG’s risk
consulting unit advises company boards on managing risks such as fraud and
financial crime, regulatory compliance, cyber attacks and corporate governance.

The
dismissal of Mr Howarth comes as KPMG has been battling to restore its
reputation following a series of unrelated scandals involving its business and
individual employees. It was involved in a corruption scandal in South Africa
and has been scrutinised by regulators and politicians in the UK over the collapse
of Carillion, the government outsourcer, which it had audited since 1999.

In the US,
KPMG was fined $50m by the Securities and Exchange Commission in June, a record
fine for an auditor, after its former employees were alleged to have stolen
regulatory information. In January, Peter Meehan, KPMG’s lead audit partner on
Carillion, was suspended by the firm.

KPMG and the
Financial Reporting Council, the audit watchdog, are investigating whether Mr
Meehan and his team may have provided documents to the regulator that were
backdated in relation to Carillion.

In June,
Sanjay Thakkar, head of KPMG’s deal advisory unit, took a leave of absence
after two female KPMG partners resigned in protest over how an internal review
into allegations of bullying had been handled.

The firm has
launched a second review into his conduct amid fresh allegations. He has since
stepped down from his role.

Source: ft.com

The post KPMG ousts head of consulting unit after conduct probe appeared first on maltawinds.com.

Original article found on Malta Winds

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