The global auditing firm, KPMG, expelled the head of UK financial services consulting over the misconduct charges. The company took the decision over the weekend after an internal investigation into Tim Howarth‘s conduct apparently found him guilty. As per the two people close to the matter, the decision was undertaken in response to some messages sent on WhatsApp. Though the details of the messages and type of misconduct was not revealed.
Howarth,53, is not the first to face such charges, as before him there were two other senior partners as well who faced conduct charges.
Howarth, who joined KPMG in 2005, was incharge of the company’s risk consulting practice. He was also the lead partner for one of the company’s biggest clients, Lloyds Banking Group.
The Financial Times, which was the first to report the story, mentioned that KPMG called a formal meeting with a disciplinary panel on Friday (Saturday AEDT) and then released the expulsion orders for Mr Howarth. Over the weeken, the company also took down Howarth’s profile from its website. Two people briefed on the matter said it related to messages sent on WhatsApp.
A spokesperson of the consultancy 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.”
Howarth, who has appealed against the company’s decision, told FT: “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.” The decision to oust UK head came amid the company’s struggles to steer away from controversies as of late KPMG has been associated with a serious of scandals.
It is not only KPMG, rather all the Big Four, including Deloitte, PwC, and EY, whose audits had been questioned UK lawmakers, and were asked for their ‘full structural break up’ in April. The lousy and unethical performance of world’s, believed to be, topmost audit firms marked a “crisis of trust in the audit industry”, especially after high-profile scams such as BHS, Carillion, and Patisserie Valerie, got exposed.