We are asking stockholders to ratify the Audit Committee’s appointment of KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accountants for the year ending December 31, 2017.
KPMG LLP or its predecessors have served as our independent registered public accounting firm since the merger in 2007 and previously served as the independent registered public accountant of Mellon since 1972. The Audit Committee and the Board believe that the continued retention of KPMG LLP to serve as independent registered public accounting firm for the 2017 fiscal year is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders
Our Audit Committee has direct responsibility:
- For the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of our independent registered public accountants engaged to prepare an audit report or to perform other audit, review or attestation services for us.
- To negotiate and approve the audit engagement fees and terms associated with the retention of KPMG LLP.
- To annually evaluate and, as appropriate, replace KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accountant and discuss with management the timing and process for implementing the mandatory rotation of the lead engagement partner.
We expect that representatives of KPMG LLP will be present at the Annual Meeting to respond to appropriate questions, and they will have the opportunity to make a statement if they desire.
The Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” ratification of appointment of KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accountants for the year ending December 31, 2017.
Adoption of this proposal requires the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast on the proposal at the Annual Meeting by the holders of our common stock voting in person or by proxy. Unless contrary instructions are given, shares represented by proxies solicited by the Board will be voted “for” the ratification of the selection of KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accountants for the year ending December 31, 2017.
If the selection of KPMG LLP is not ratified by our stockholders, the Audit Committee will reconsider the matter. If selection of KPMG LLP is ratified, the Audit Committee in its discretion may still direct the appointment of a different independent registered public accountant at any time during the year if it determines that such a change is in our best interests.
Report of the Audit Committee
On behalf of our Board of Directors, the Audit Committee oversees the operation of a comprehensive system of internal controls with respect to the integrity of our financial statements and reports, compliance with laws, regulations and corporate policies and the qualifications, performance and independence of our independent registered public accounting firm. The committee’s function is one of oversight, since management is responsible for preparing our financial statements, and our independent registered public accountants are responsible for auditing those statements.
Accordingly, the committee has reviewed and discussed with management the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2016 and management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016. KPMG LLP issued its unqualified report on our financial statements and the operating effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
The committee has also discussed with KPMG LLP the matters required to be discussed in accordance with Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Auditing Standard, Communications with Audit Committees. The committee has also received the written disclosures and the letter from KPMG LLP required by applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which we refer to as the “PCAOB,” regarding the independent accountants’ communications with the Audit Committee concerning auditor independence, and has conducted a discussion with KPMG LLP regarding its independence. The committee has determined that KPMG LLP’s provision of non-audit services is compatible with its independence.
Based on these reviews and discussions, the committee recommended to the Board of Directors that our audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2016 be included in our 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
By: The Audit Committee
Joseph J. Echevarria, Chair
John A. Luke, Jr.
Jennifer B. Morgan
Mark A. Nordenberg
Catherine A. Rein
Samuel C. Scott III
Services Provided by KPMG LLP
Audit Fees, Audit-Related Fees, Tax Fees and All Other Fees
We have been advised by KPMG LLP that it is an independent public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and that it complies with the auditing, quality control and independence standards and rules of the PCAOB and the SEC. The appointment of KPMG LLP as our independent registered public accounting firm for the 2016 fiscal year was ratified at our 2016 Annual Meeting. The following table reflects the fees earned by KPMG LLP for services provided to us for 2016 and 2015:
(1) Includes fees for professional services rendered for the audit of our annual financial statements for the fiscal year (including services relating to the audit of internal control over financial reporting under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) and for reviews of the financial statements included in our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and for other services that only our independent registered public accountant can reasonably provide.
(2) Includes fees for services that were reasonably related to performance of the audit of the annual financial statements for the fiscal year, other than Audit Fees, such as service organization reports (under Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (or “SSAE”) 16), employee benefit plan audits and internal control reviews.
(3) Includes fees for tax return preparation and tax planning.
(4) Includes fees for regulatory and other advisory services.
Other Services Provided by KPMG LLP
KPMG LLP also provided services to entities associated with us that were charged directly to those entities and accordingly were not included in the amounts disclosed in the table above. These amounts included $11.6 million for 2016 and $13.0 million for 2015 for the audits and tax compliance services for mutual funds, collective funds and other funds advised by us. Also excluded from the amounts disclosed in the table above are fees billed by KPMG LLP to joint ventures or equity method investments in which we have an interest of 50% or less.
Our Audit Committee has established pre-approval policies and procedures applicable to all services provided by our independent registered public accountants. In accordance with SEC rules, our pre-approval policy has two different approaches to pre-approving audit and permitted non-audit services performed by our independent registered public accountants. Proposed services may be pre-approved pursuant to policies and procedures established by the Audit Committee that are detailed as to a particular class of service without consideration by the Audit Committee of the specific case-by-case services to be performed (“class pre-approval”). If a class of service has not received class pre-approval, the service will require specific pre-approval by the Audit Committee before it is provided by our independent registered public accountants (“specific pre-approval”). A list of services that has received class pre-approval from our Audit Committee (or its delegate) is attached to our Audit and Permitted Non-Audit Services Pre-Approval Policy. A copy of our Audit and Permitted Non-Audit Services Pre-Approval Policy is available on our website (see “Helpful Resources” on page 88). For 2016, all of the fees associated with the independent registered public accounting firm services were pre-approved by the Audit Committee.