EUROPE - More than a quarter of the boards of pan-European mutual funds UCITS never ask auditors to attend their meetings, according to a new survey by a leading consultancy.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Luxembourg questioned 19 fund promoters from eight countries, representing nearly half (48%) of the assets under management in Luxembourg. It found auditors were the least likely to be consulted by boards, with 29% saying that they never invited auditors to their meetings. Investment managers were the most likely to be invited.

However, the low importance given to auditors is an improvement on last year's PwC survey, when 47% said they did not consult them. And 21% of the fund promoters appointed or intend to appoint an audit committee.

Patrick Zurstrassen, senior advisor at Credit Agricole Investors Services and a director of the executive committee of ALFI in Luxembourg, told delegates at the Fund Forum in Monaco today: "You may find the fact that auditors are at the bottom of the list surprising, and we would expect some upward movement in future."

The survey also showed that 71% of directors are apppointed by the fund promoters, while only three percent are drawn from investors. "Some of us are not happy with this and would expect some change," said Zurstrassen.

The survey showed that directors appointed by the promoters are generally not remunerated. Independent directors are paid an average of 20,000 euros a year.