Commerzbank is on the lookout for a new auditor. Deutsche Bank’s asset management business, having already chosen one, has changed its mind. The loser in both cases is Ernst & Young, which has found itself with a bit of egg on its face thanks to its role auditing Wirecard, the German fintech with the missing/invented $2 billion, missing executives, arrested executives and potential money laundering scandal—something Commerz is already plenty familiar with.
Still, if the Germans were looking for a reason to can EY, they needn’t have waited for this: EY has demonstrated incompetence, illegalities, ethical lapses and other fireable foibles plenty of times in the past. Unfortunately for any company in need of a brand-name auditor, so has KPMG—which got to keep its job at DWS after having been fired for EY; Wirecard is proving rather a boon for them—and every other professional services firm. So, uh, what’s the big deal about this particular EY fuck-up, however egregious, to the former and current naming-rights partners of Eintracht Frankfurt?
Both would face conflicts of interest if they decided, for instance, to sue EY for any role it played in auditing Wirecard, while also being audited by it…. “This decision was made in an abundance of caution and under due consideration to avoid any possible future conflicts arising potentially from the role of EY as statutory auditor of Wirecard,” DWS said in a document laying out the agenda for its November annual general meeting, where shareholders must approve changes.
Of course, if DWS does decide to file suit against EY, that would just create yet another conflict of interest for its parent, which is pretty thirsty to bail Wirecard out for some reason, but, honestly, that seems like just about the least of Deutsche Bank’s many problems.