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Monday, Dec 30, 2002

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Banks told to form task force for risk-based internal audits

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MUMBAI, Dec. 29

THE Reserve Bank of India has asked banks to form a task force to put in place risk-based internal audit systems. The central bank has, in its finalised guidelines issued on December 28, also asked banks to submit to it a quarterly audit policy implementation report for the quarter ended March 2003 after moving to the new system.

The guidelines are part of the five areas of bank-level preparation to enable a `smooth switchover' to Risk-based Supervision (RBS) of banks by the Reserve Bank, said a notice.

Banks have been asked to deliberate on the risk-based internal audit guideline at their next board of directors meetings. They have been asked to review their current internal audit systems and prepare for transition into the new system in a phased manner, keeping in view their risk management practices, business requirements, man power availability, etc.

The task force, to be formed for chalking out the action plan for switching over to a risk-based audit system, should comprise senior executives of the banks. The task force may identify and address transitional and change management issues, implement the action plan, monitor the progress in the transitional period and report periodically to the board of directors and top management.

Under risk-based internal audit, the focus should shift from current full-scale transaction testing to risk identification and prioritisation of audit areas, RBI said.

The internal audit policy should lay down the maximum time period beyond which even the low risk business activities or locations should not remain unaudited.

The internal audit department should be independent from the internal control process to avoid any conflict of interest and should be given an appropriate standing within the bank to carry out its assignments.

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