There will be a committee of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Liberty Global plc (the “Corporation”), which will be called the Audit Committee.
1. Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the Audit Committee is to provide assistance to the Board in fulfilling the Board’s responsibilities to the Corporation and its shareholders relating to the accounting and financial reporting process and the audit of the Corporation’s financial statements. To that end, the Audit Committee will oversee management’s processes and activities relating to:
- maintaining the reliability and integrity of the Corporation’s accounting policies, financial reporting practices and financial statements;
- the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence;
- the performance of the Corporation’s internal audit function and independent auditor; and
- confirming compliance with U.K. and U.S. Federal laws and regulations, and the requirements of any stock exchange or quotation system on which the Corporation’s securities may be listed.
The Audit Committee will prepare the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) to be included in the Corporation’s annual proxy statement.
2. Committee Membership
The Audit Committee will consist of no fewer than three members. The Audit Committee will be composed of directors who satisfy the independence, experience and financial expertise requirements set forth in the Corporate Governance Rules of The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc., Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), including the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, and all other applicable legal and regulatory requirements. In addition, at least one member of the Audit Committee will have past employment experience in finance or accounting, requisite professional certification in accounting, or other comparable experience or background which results in the individual’s financial sophistication, including a current or past position as a chief executive or financial officer or other senior officer with financial oversight responsibilities. The Board may, in its discretion, determine that one or more members of the Audit Committee are “financial experts” as defined by the Commission.
The members of the Audit Committee will be appointed, and may from time to time be removed, by the Board. The Board will take into account any recommendations of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee in making such appointments.
3. Meetings; Executive Sessions
The Audit Committee will meet on a regular basis, but no less frequently than four times per year, and shall hold special meetings as required. Periodically the Audit Committee will meet with management, the internal auditors (or other personnel responsible for the internal audit) and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions in furtherance of its purposes.
Meetings of the Audit Committee may be called by or at the request of the Board, the Chairperson of the Audit Committee, any two members of the Audit Committee or the Chief Executive Officer. Notice of a meeting of the Audit Committee stating the place, day and hour of the meeting shall be given to each member of the Audit Committee at least one day prior thereto by mail, personal delivery or by telephone, telegraph, electronically transmitted facsimile or other form of wire or wireless communication. The method of notice need not be the same to each member of the Audit Committee.
4. Functions and Responsibilities
In furtherance of the purposes set forth above, the Audit Committee will perform the functions and responsibilities described in this Charter as appropriate and will have all powers of the Board necessary or desirable to perform such functions and responsibilities as may be delegated to a committee of the Board under English law. Notwithstanding the enumeration of specific functions and responsibilities herein, the Audit Committee believes that its policies and procedures should remain flexible, in order to best respond to changing circumstances and conditions in fulfilling its responsibilities to the Corporation and its shareholders. The Audit Committee will by resolution establish its own rules and regulations for all meetings. In the absence of such rules and regulations, the provisions of the Corporation’s articles of association generally applicable to committees of the Board will apply.
The Audit Committee will have sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor (subject, if applicable, to shareholder approval). The Audit Committee will be directly responsible for the oversight of the work of the independent auditor (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work or performing other audit, review or attest services. The independent auditor will report directly to the Audit Committee.
All auditing services and permitted non-audit services (including the fees and terms thereof) to be performed for the Corporation by its independent auditor must be approved by the Audit Committee in advance, subject to the de minimus exceptions for non-audit services described in Section 10A(i)(l)(B) of the Exchange Act which are approved by the Audit Committee prior to the completion of the audit. The Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees consisting of one or more members or may delegate authority to one or more members, including the authority to grant preapprovals of audit and permitted non-audit services, provided that all decisions to grant preapprovals pursuant to such delegated authority will be presented to the entire Audit Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
The Audit Committee will have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate to carry out its functions and responsibilities, to retain independent legal, accounting or other advisors. The Corporation will provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for the payment of compensation to the independent auditor for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report or related work or performing other audit, review or attest services and to any advisors employed by the Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee will make regular reports to the Board. The Audit Committee will review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter annually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval. The Audit Committee will periodically review the Audit Committee’s own performance.
In addition, the Audit Committee will:
- Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Corporation’s annual audited financial statements, including disclosures made in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Corporation’s Form 10-K.
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Corporation’s quarterly financial statements, including disclosures made in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor’s review of the quarterly financial statements.
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor, as applicable, (A) significant issues regarding accounting principles and financial statement presentations, including any significant changes in the Corporation’s selection or application of accounting principles, major issues as to the adequacy or effectiveness of the Corporation’s internal controls and any special audit steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies; (B) analyses prepared by management or the independent auditor setting forth significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the financial statements, including analyses of the effects of alternative generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) methods on the financial statements; and (C) the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives, as well as off-balance sheet structures, on the financial statements of the Corporation.
- Hold meetings on a quarterly basis to review and discuss quarterly reports from the independent auditor on (A) all critical accounting policies and practice to be used; (B) all alternative treatments of financial information within GAAP that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and treatments preferred by the independent auditor; and (C) other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any schedule of unadjusted differences.
- Review drafts of earnings press releases.
- Discuss with management the Corporation’s major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such risk exposures, including the Corporation’s risk assessment and risk management policies or guidelines.
- Discuss with the independent auditor the matters required to be discussed by applicable auditing standards relating to the conduct of the audit or any review services, including any difficulties encountered in the course of the audit or review work, any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management.
- Review disclosures made to the Audit Committee by the Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Financial Officers during their certification process for the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q about any significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls or material weaknesses therein and any fraud involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the Corporation’s internal controls.
- Oversight of the Corporation’s Relationship with the Independent Auditor
- (1) Obtain and review a formal written statement from the independent auditor at least annually regarding (A) the independent auditor’s internal quality-control procedures, (B) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of such auditor, or by an inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities within the preceding five years respecting one or more independent audits carried out by such auditor, (C) any steps taken to deal with such issues, and (D) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Corporation (consistent with applicable independence standards); (2) evaluate the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditor, including a review and evaluation of the lead partner of the independent auditor, considering whether the auditor’s internal quality-controls are adequate, considering whether the provision of permitted non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor’s independence and actively engaging in a dialogue with the auditors with respect to any disclosed relationship or services that may impact the objectivity and independence of the independent auditor, taking into account the opinions of management and the Corporation’s internal auditors; and (3) present its conclusions and consequent recommendations with respect to the independent auditor to the Board.
- Ensure the rotation of the lead (or coordinating) audit partner having primary responsibility for the audit and the audit partner responsible for reviewing the audit as required by law.
- Recommend to the Board policies for the Corporation’s hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who were engaged on the Corporation’s account or otherwise participated in any audit of the Corporation.
- Discuss with the independent auditor any accounting or auditing issues with respect to which the Corporation’s audit team consulted with the independent auditor’s national office.
- Review with the independent auditor any audit problems or difficulties and management’s response.
- Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of the audit.
- Oversight of the Corporation’s Internal Audit Function
- Ensure the Corporation maintains an internal audit function and at least annually evaluate the performance of the Corporation’s internal audit function.
- Review and discuss with the independent auditor, the internal auditor and management, as appropriate, the internal auditor function’s responsibilities, budget and staffing and any recommendations or suggested changes in the planned scope of the internal audit, including compliance with The Institute of Internal Audits Standards for Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. Also review and concur in the appointment, replacement and dismissal of the Vice President of Internal Audit.
- Review with the internal auditor, on a periodic basis as appropriate, the results of specified projects assigned to the internal auditor, and coordinate with management to ensure that any significant findings or control weaknesses are addressed and resolved.
- Compliance Oversight Responsibilities
- Review any reports of the independent auditor mandated by Section 10A of the Exchange Act and obtain from the independent auditor any information with respect to illegal acts in accordance with Section 10A.
- Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Corporation regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or audit matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
- Take actions necessary to enforce the Code of Business Conduct and Code of Ethics adopted by the Board, including the establishment of procedures to consider alleged violations of such codes and reporting and disclosure of such violations and any waivers granted by the Board under such codes.
5. Limitation on Audit Committee’s Role
While the Audit Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter, it is not the duty of the Audit Committee to, and the Audit Committee will not, (a) plan or conduct audits, (b) prepare the Corporation’s financial statements, or (c) determine or certify that the Corporation’s financial statements and disclosures are complete and accurate and are in accordance with GAAP and applicable rules and regulations. These are the responsibilities of management and the independent auditor.
ADOPTED by the Board on May 30, 2013.