Provide sufficient information
Complainants should provide accurate and complete information for the FRC to evaluate a complaint. Information should include:
||name of the PIE auditor, registered responsible person and the listed entity;
||specific details of the events or subject matters indicating the misconduct and non-compliance with accounting requirements. Where appropriate, dates and parties involved should also be provided;
||complainant’s name, contact number, email and postal address; and
||copies of any relevant documents providing evidence in support of the complaint.
How does the FRC handle a complaint?
Reviewing and assessing complaints
||Upon receipt of a complaint, the FRC issues an acknowledgement to the complainant.
||All complaints are dealt with as soon as practicable. The period of time required for handling a complaint depends on the circumstances of each individual case.
||All complaints are treated in strict confidence although the FRC may need to disclose information to other regulatory bodies and/or law enforcement agencies. Such disclosures are, however, made under the secrecy provisions of the Financial Reporting Council Ordinance (FRCO).
||In reviewing a complaint, the FRC may need to contact the complainee in order to collect additional information. Details of the complaint may have to be disclosed to this party, but, it is the FRC’s policy that the identity of a complainant shall not be revealed to outside parties unless the complainant identifies himself to the public or consents to such disclosure.
Checking the status of a complaint
||To decide whether or not an investigation or enquiry or both should be initiated, the information and evidence provided by the complainant is reviewed.
||The complainant, PIE auditor, registered responsible person and/or listed entity concerned may be asked to provide additional information and an explanation of the matters referred to in the complaint.
||Following an assessment of the information and evidence available, the FRC will decide on the appropriate action to be taken. This may include initiating an investigation or enquiry, referral of the case to the appropriate regulatory bodies and/or law enforcement agencies, no further pursuit of the complaint and/or any other action considered appropriate by the FRC.
||The FRC may direct an investigation to be carried out where the FRC has (a) reason to inquire into whether there has been misconduct committed by a PIE auditor or registered responsible person for considering whether to impose a sanction; (b) reasonable cause to believe that a PIE auditor or registered responsible person has contravened a provision of the FRCO; or (c) reasonable cause to believe that a PIE auditor has carried out a PIE engagement in a way which is not in the interest of the investing public or in the public interest. Where it appears that there is or may be a question as to whether or not there is non-compliance with accounting requirements, the FRC may initiate an enquiry.
||Where there is insufficient information and evidence of the alleged misconduct or non-compliance with accounting requirements to support a complaint, or the subject matter of the complaint is immaterial, falls outside the jurisdiction of the FRC, or is not related to a misconduct or non-compliance with accounting requirements, the FRC may take such action as it considers appropriate. This may include no further pursuit of the complaint or referral of the case to an appropriate authority.
||A complainant will be notified in writing with brief reasons if the FRC decides not to pursue his complaint. If the complainant is not satisfied with the FRC’s decision, the complainant may request a review with relevant reason and evidence.
||If an investigation or enquiry is initiated, no information will be disclosed during the progress of the case. This enables the FRC to conduct its investigation or enquiry on a confidential basis. It also preserves the integrity of the process and protects the PIE auditor, registered responsible person and listed entity concerned during the course of the investigation or enquiry.
||If the review of a complaint lasts for more than 12 calendar months, the FRC will update the complainant of the progress of the review provided that it does not violate
the secrecy provisions under the FRCO.
||On completion of review and assessment of complaints or on completion of an investigation or enquiry, if no misconduct or non-compliance with accounting requirements is found, complainants will be informed that no further action is to be taken by the FRC. If the complainant is not satisfied with the FRC’s decision, the complainant may request a review with relevant reasons and evidence. Complainants will be informed if the FRC refers the matter to other regulatory body or law enforcement agency for follow-up action, but no other information will be disclosed.
||In deciding whether or not to publish an investigation on enquiry report, or any part of a report, the FRC shall consider:
||whether or not the publication may adversely affect any criminal proceedings or any proceedings before the Market Misconduct Tribunal or under the Professional Accountants Ordinance that have been or are likely to be instituted;
||whether or not the publication may adversely affect any person named in the investigation or enquiry report; and
||whether or not the investigation or enquiry report, or any part of the report, shall be published in the interest of the investing public or in the public interest.
||The FRC may not be able to proceed with the complaints which are not supported by sufficient evidence.
||Complainants may choose to remain anonymous. However, the FRC may not be able to request more information or clarify matters regarding the complaints with them.
||The FRC will not normally deal with verbal complaints. Anyone who experiences difficulties in lodging a written complaint should contact the FRC on (852)2810 6321 for assistance.