BKW’s auditors are appointed on an annual basis. The current auditors are Ernst & Young Ltd.; the firm has acted as BKW’s auditor since 1990. The auditor in charge changes regularly, at least once every seven years in accordance with legal requirements. Rico Fehr has been auditor in charge since 2018; for 2017, it was Bernadette Koch and from 2012 to 2016, Roland Ruprecht.
The auditors’ fees for expenditures incurred by statutory audits of BKW and its consolidated Group companies amounted to CHF 905,000 for the reporting year. The fees for other services including non-mandatory audits, audits in accordance with special laws and consulting in financial reporting amounted to CHF 141,000.
Oversight and control of the external auditor is a key responsibility of the Audit and Risk Management Committee (cf. Sections 3.5.1 and 3.5.2, pages 134 and 135, under Audit and Risk Management Committee / Responsibilities). The Audit and Risk Management Committee convenes four ordinary meetings per year, in which the auditors sometimes participate. The external auditors attended for parts of the agenda at two ordinary meetings of the Audit and Risk Management Committee during the 2019 reporting year.
On behalf of the Audit and Risk Management Committee, the external auditors examine the annual financial statements according to the Swiss Code of Obligations (OR) as well as the consolidated annual financial statements. Towards the end of the year, the external auditors must advise the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the audit priorities they have set for the forthcoming year and the rationale for these priorities. The Audit and Risk Management Committee must approve this audit plan and may commission the external auditors to conduct additional specific audits.
The performance of the external auditors and their independence are assessed annually by the Audit and Risk Management Committee. This assessment is based on the quality of the reports, implementation of the audit plans approved by the Committee and collaboration with the internal auditors. With regard to independence, the Committee examines the relationship between the budgeted audit fee and the fee for other services provided by the auditing company, and what these additional services include.