Deutshe Bank is inviting firms to compete for its 2020 audit just two years after hiring EY to replace KPMG, in a move that could see EY ditched in favour of another company.
The chair of Germany’s biggest lender Paul Achleitner told shareholders that the company wants “to keep all its options open” when it comes to EY, given the “future uncertainties”, the Financial Times first reported.
He added that opening up the tender for its 2022 audit was a precautionary step.
EY was the decade-long auditor of Munich headquartered Wirecard, which collapsed last year after it disclosed a €1.9bn black hole in its accounts.
The collapse marked one of Europe’s largest accounting frauds in recent history.
Since then, a slew of criticism and accusations have been levied EY for the role it played as the company’s auditor.
Germany’s audit watchdog, for example, said it suspected EY partners knew they were issuing a “factually inaccurate” audit for Wirecard in 2017 – a claim EY disputes.
According to the Financial Times, following Wirecard’s collapse EY has lost several high-profile clients, including Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bank’s asset manager arm DWS, and Frankfurt-based lenders Commerzbank and KfW.
In a statement, EY Germany said: “EY Germany is pleased to have been confirmed as Deutsche Bank’s auditor for FY2021 with support from 99.3 per cent of votes cast at the company’s AGM.
“For the FY2022 audit, Deutsche Bank will run a tender process. This allows the Deutsche Bank supervisory board to keep all options open and does not automatically imply a change of auditor. EY Germany will be participating in the FY2022 tender process.”