Johannesburg, Wednesday, September 7, 2022 – The Board of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) has named Imre Nagy as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mr Nagy had been Acting CEO since February 2021. Prior to this Mr Nagy was the Director: Inspections and has been with the IRBA for nine years.
Mr Nagy took over the leadership of the IRBA in an acting role after then Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, dissolved the board and put in place a caretaker board. At that time, Nagy was viewed as a sound choice with a deep knowledge of the profession and the regulatory environment.
The Auditing Profession Act Amendment, a key restoring confidence project of the IRBA, was in its final stages of the parliamentary process. The amendment act was promulgated on 1 April 2021, setting out provisions for a board structure that would assure the public of increased independence.
The board prioritised selection around a candidate that had the necessary independence, no conflicts of interest and a solid understanding of the profession and the regulatory environment. While transformation was an important goal, it was not the only consideration.
“We are pleased to confirm that following a robust recruitment process, the board has resolved to appoint Imre Nagy as the new CEO. During the intervening 18-month period, Imre has served the IRBA well, earning a clean audit for 2022, and overseeing the process changes arising out of the amended act. He has also operationalised the IRBA’s refocused five-year strategy which seeks to restore confidence in the audit profession and the regulator, enhance audit quality of auditors, ensure the sustainability and relevance of the regulator, and undertake comprehensive stakeholder engagement to collectively strengthen the financial reporting eco-system.
Nagy joined the regulator as Director: Inspections in February 2013, heading the regulatory monitoring function (inspections), which also undertakes the remediation of registered auditors to promote high audit quality in South Africa. He has held positions at several small and large auditing firms, including two transformed audit firms. Prior to joining IRBA he was director and provincial head of a South African audit network firm. His commitment to transformation, skills development and promoting access to black professionals is unwavering as demonstrated by his previous roles as Quality Reviewer for the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) and as an accredited SAICA Training Officer overseeing the training of aspiring chartered accountants in the Eastern Cape.
In the past 20 years, he gained extensive experience in audits, audit regulation, audit quality monitoring and quality control. He has comprehensive knowledge in accounting, risk management, forensic audit and public sector advisory. Most of his career has been spent serving the public sector and the public interest. His experience underpins his deep-rooted passion for the auditing profession and its regulation which is key to promote investment and growth of our economy. From 2013 to 2021, he also served as an independent quality/technical advisor to the Auditor-General South Africa’s (AGSA) Quality Control Assessment Committee.
Says Nagy: “My focus over the last year has been on internal processes to support our refocused five-year strategy, and our restoring confidence initiatives, through which I aim to restore confidence and trust in the regulator and the auditing profession, with the support of a strong and dedicated executive team. We have finalised our roadmap and project charter to guide the related activities, which include strengthening our regulatory capacity and making our profession more attractive. Three workstreams have been established, and research and consultations are ongoing to identify key reforms and improvements in each of the focus areas identified.
“I believe that all role-players, within and outside the profession, want our registered auditors to demonstrate strong ethical principles; and this includes executing sustainable and consistently high-quality audits that are anchored by strong ethics, governance and regulation. I want to ensure that auditors take their rightful place as trusted professionals that promote the sustainability and growth of the economy through the public interest work that they do. If we work together and collectively focus on rebuilding our profession, we can reclaim the trust that has been lost and re-establish the value of the audit.
“I would like to thank the board for its guidance and leadership and for their confidence in me. I aim to continue to pursue the IRBA’s strategic objectives with dedication.”
Imre is also involved in global audit regulation. He is currently a board member and the Audit and Finance Committee Chairperson of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR), and serves on its Inspections Working Group, where independent audit regulators from 54 countries share their knowledge and experiences. He is also a non-executive director of the IFIAR Association.
Says Tonelli: “Imre is a public servant at heart. He is a consummate professional, with a passion for promoting reliable financial information and high audit quality. These attributes and his track record for integrity are necessary for this role, the purpose of which is the protection of the financial interests of the public. This makes him a solid candidate to lead the regulator in the coming years.”
Nagy holds a B Com (Honours), Certificate in the Theory of Auditing, a Post Graduate Diploma in Auditing and a Professional Certificate in Regulatory Affairs. He is a CA (SA), a Registered Auditor and a member of the Institute of Directors South Africa (IODSA).
As the audit regulator, IRBA is key to the stability of the financial markets and building the trust of local and foreign direct investors by promoting high quality audits.
Notes to Editors:
The IRBA is a public protection statutory body established to protect the financial interests of the public by ensuring registered auditors and their firms deliver services of the highest quality. It upholds audit firm independence to ensure that audit quality is such that it enhances the accuracy and credibility of financial performance reporting. In this way, the IRBA has an important role to play in building the reputation of South Africa as an investment market for both local and global investors and driving economic growth for the country.
The IRBA also registers suitably qualified accountants as auditors, who must adhere to the highest ethics standards, and promotes the auditing profession through the effective regulation of assurance conducted in accordance with internationally recognised standards and processes.