Assurance & Audit
Under the Assurance service, Sator Fidelis is retained by the Protector under a letter of engagement that sets out the scope of the Assurance Review and terms of business. This review will consider all key risks and issues that could impact on the trust structure, and assess how effectively they have been dealt with.
Before starting detailed work on the assignment, Fidelis will review the case to assess the powers of the Protector, and form a view of any technical issues (e.g. cooperation of trustees, whether the Protector is professional or ‘lay’, whether there is an issue with the Assurance review fees being paid out of the trust).
Fidelis will then contact the Trustee, enclosing a copy of the authority from the Protector, suggesting a meeting to request information to enable him to fulfil his responsibilities. At the meeting (or by post if a meeting not held) the Trustee is provided with a list of questions and a list of document copies required. Fidelis will offer to undertake work at the Trustee’s office and compile the answers to the questions and copies face-to-face. Fidelis then review the answers and the documents received, which will almost certainly lead to follow up questions and clarifications.
A draft of a comprehensive report for the Protector will be prepared. The report will evaluate whether the operation of the structure is in line with the Trust Deed and any letters of wishes, and any limitations in scope due to gaps in information the Trustee was willing to furnish. The report will also highlight any departures from generally accepted good practice, and any other matters which Sator Fidelis think the Protector should be made aware of. The report will include any restrictions or limitations to scope, and matters which have not been able to be fully investigated due to the information that the Trustee has been willing to provide. The full draft report will not be made available to the Trustee by Fidelis, but a list of draft key findings extracted from the report will be shared with the Trustee to allow for findings of fact to be confirmed, and any misunderstandings to be corrected. Once any clarifications or further questions have been addressed, the report will be finalised for the Protector, who then may choose to share it with the Trustee.
The preferred basis for the Assurance Proposition will be an initial review, which will include a deep dive into the history of the trust and ‘standing file’ information, with a continuing periodic (ideally annually, but could be two-yearly or three-yearly if the Protector wishes) review of activity in that period.
The Audit service proposition entails a more in-depth review of documents, processes, decisions and actions. It is a fiduciary audit as opposed to a financial audit. In addition to covering the matters in scope of the Assurance service, the Audit service also reviews the Trustee’s internal records and processes. This service requires the collaboration of the Trustee. Sator Fidelis is appointed under a tri-partite agreement with the Trustee and the Protector, to produce an independent report to both the Trustee and the Protector.
The scope of the service covers the same areas of risk as the Assurance service, but extra confidence is obtained by undertaking a review of the Trustee’s internal records and processes in the operation of the structure under review, and discussions with administration staff involved.
As in the Assurance service, a comprehensive draft written report is produced. This is shared with the Protector and the Trustee to enable the findings and conclusions to be confirmed and agreed, at which point the final report is issued. Sator Fidelis can also supply a confidential appendix to the Trustee alone highlighting any other observations and findings which may be specifically of concern to the Trustee, but have not adversely impacted on the trust structure which is the subject of the review; for example, on regulatory matters, or on weaknesses in internal processes, which can assist the Trustee in managing their own processes, risks and controls.
The Audit service benefits the Trustee by providing independent oversight and quality assurance of the administration of the Trust and underlying companies. The terms of appointment provide a pathway to remediation of any issues that may be identified, reducing the likelihood of dispute and litigation in the future.