The Committee is governed by a formal written Charter, adopted by it and approved by the Board. The Committee meets formally at least four times a year. External auditors attend at least one meeting annually; moreover, external auditors have unrestricted access to the Committee and its Chairman throughout the year.
The Board of Directors has delegated to the Board Audit Committee the responsibility for ensuring that an effective internal auditing and continuous internal controls monitoring environment, and a sound system of accounting and financial control are in place. The Committee achieves this through regular review of internal audit reporting, external auditors’ management letters, central banks’ inspection reports, and the Group’s accounting and financial policies and practices, financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures, and the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control procedures at the Head Office and at ABG’s subsidiaries. The Committee considers all matters relating to financial control and reporting, internal and external audits and their scope and results, risk management and compliance with regulatory and legal requirements and accounting standards. It also considers and approves the annual audit plans, ensures coordination between the internal and external auditors, monitors the independence, qualifications, effectiveness and performance of the external auditors, and makes recommendations to the Board regarding the appointment, retirement and remuneration of the external auditors and the appointment of the Head of the Group’s Internal Audit Department.
The Committee reviews the Group’s annual and interim financial statements to recommend their approval to the Board of Directors, the adequacy of provisions and any reports by external consultants on specific investigative or advisory engagements.
The Committee ensures that there are control systems in place which are appropriate to the business of the Group and the information needs of the Board. These include systems and functions for identifying and monitoring risk, the financial position of the Group and compliance with applicable laws and regulations and best banking practice. The Committee ensures that all such information is produced on a timely basis. The various internal controls and processes are subject to independent review by the Group’s Internal Audit Department, which reports directly to the Committee, as stated above, and external auditors and regulators as appropriate. Management letters and other issues of importance raised by external auditors, and inspection reports issued by the CBB’s inspectors, or inspectors of any other applicable authorities where ABG or its subsidiaries operate, are reviewed by the Committee once issued. Acting on behalf of the Board, the Committee ensures that appropriate corrective action is taken.
The Board has adopted a ‘whistleblower’ program, allowing employees to confidentially raise concerns about possible improprieties in financial or legal matters. Under the program, concerns may be communicated directly to any member of the Board Audit Committee or, alternatively, to an identified officer or employee who, in turn, reports the matter to the Committee.
For more detailed information about the Committee’s duties, powers, and the periodicity of its meetings, please refer to the Group’s approved Corporate Governance Code at the following link