The Jersey Financial Services Commission has cast aside any plans to introduce compulsory audits for private companies following a year-long review of financial regulation. The assessment was prompted by publication of the Edwards report into regulation in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man in November 1998 that made recommendations for a number of improvements. Many were endorsements of legislation already in train, but last week the States of Jersey Task Force, charged with assessing the Edwards proposals, made its final statements and snubbed attempts to push Jersey into line with tougher EU requirements. Jersey Financial Services Commission director general Richard Pratt said UK moves to raise the audit threshold for small companies to as much as £4.2m, in line with other European countries, 'justifies our opinion'. He added: 'What Edwards says he recommended was a presumption that EU standards should be adopted in respect of filing, therefore making private companies file accounts every year. 'But he noted our stance is that public companies should have to file but not private ones, a practice followed in the US and Canada.' The report noted Jersey may not wish to move towards EU standards in the absence of a broader international initiative and Pratt said the task force had agreed with this. Andrew Edwards, a retired Treasury official, offered the island some alternatives and Pratt said new legislation would mean private financial services companies would now have to prepare accounts. All those who administer private companies, meaning those international companies which have a small presence on the island in the form of a third party, would be brought under regulation which would allow the commission to investigate them and their accounts whenever it was deemed necessary. Other changes include enhancements to customer protection and the introduction of modern business bankruptcy procedures.
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