8. Auditors

8.1 Duration of the mandate and term of office of the lead auditor

Since 2006 the auditor has been PricewaterhouseCoopers AG (Zurich). The auditing mandate given to PricewaterhouseCoopers AG is always for one financial year (Art. 22 of the Articles of Association). The current mandate began on 1 January 2018. Christian Kessler is the Lead Auditor. He has performed the role of Lead Auditor since the audit of the 2013 financial year. In accordance with Art. 730a of the Swiss Code of Obligations, the Lead Auditor performs the mandate for a maximum of seven years.

8.2 Auditing fees

During the year under review, total fees invoiced by the auditing company came to CHF 1,543,000 (previous year: CHF 1,484,000).

8.3 Additional fees

Total additional fees for the year under review come to CHF 84,000 (prior year: CHF 263,000). The additional fees were approved in advance by the Audit Committee and related mostly to tax consultancy mandates.

8.4 Information instruments pertaining to an external audit

The main task of the Audit Committee is regularly and effectively to monitor the auditor’s reporting to ensure its quality, integrity and transparency. Representatives of the auditors attended all three meetings of the Audit Committee during the financial year. The auditing schedule, including fees, is presented to and discussed with the Members of the Audit Committee. The auditor presents any important observations in writing to the Audit Committee together with appropriate recommendations.