Professional services firm PwC has been hit with a record fine of £10m for failings over BHS before its controversial sale by Sir Philip Green.
PwC was fined for signing off accounts before the sale of BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) reported “misconduct”. PwC partner Steve Denison was handed a £500,000 fine and given a 15-year ban.
The FRC will reduce the fines by 35% – to £6.5m and £325,000 respectively – for early settlement.
The fines are the largest ever imposed by the regulator, and £10m is the maximum that can be imposed against any of the “Big Four” accounting firms – PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY.
The FRC first launched its investigation into the retailer two months after its collapse in 2016.
In a statement PWC said: “We recognise and accept there were serious shortcomings with this audit work. We are sorry that our work fell well below the professional standards expected of us and that we demand of ourselves.
“We have agreed this settlement, recognising that it is important to learn the necessary lessons. At its core this is not a failure in our audit methodology, the methodology simply was not followed. As a result of our internal reviews we took swift action to enhance our monitoring procedures. We have agreed with the FRC to extend these further for an additional period.
“We have fully cooperated with the FRC throughout, including making a very early admission.
“Whilst the failings did not contribute to the collapse of BHS over one year later, they were serious and this is reflected in the Financial Reporting Council settlement.
“We are confident that this incident is not representative of PwC’s high quality work, which our thousands of dedicated and professional people are rigorously trained to deliver.”