U.K. Regulator Investigating PwC Audit of Berkeley Group

The U.K.’s accounting regulator opened an investigation of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP’s fiscal 2012 audit of Berkeley Group Holdings Plc (BKG) because a former partner at the firm had joined the homebuilder’s board.

The Financial Reporting Council is reviewing whether there was a conflict of interest when PwC audited the Cobham, England-based company’s financial statements for the year ended April 30, 2012, the regulator said in a statement today. Former PwC U.K. vice chairman Glyn Barker joined Berkeley’s board in January 2012 after 35 years at the accounting firm, according to Berkeley’s website.

“We will continue to fully cooperate with the FRC’s enquiries,” Jamie Harley, a spokesman for PwC, said by e-mail. “We take our independence responsibilities very seriously.”

FRC investigations can result in reprimands, fines and orders to withdraw licenses, according to the regulator’s website.

Berkeley, the homebuilder focused on London and southeast England, declined to comment.

Berkeley fell 1.6 percent to 2,125 pence in London at 12:15 p.m. The shares have risen 21 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Gower in London at pgower@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Blackman at ablackman@bloomberg.net; Lindsay Fortado at lfortado@bloomberg.net

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