Audit Committee Charter
CHARTER OF THE
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SPECTRUM BRANDS HOLDINGS, INC.
AS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD ON JUNE 16, 2010
The purpose of the Audit Committee (the “Committee”) of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. (the “Corporation”) is to provide assistance to the Board in fulfilling its legal and fiduciary obligations with respect to matters involving the accounting, auditing, financial reporting, internal control and legal compliance functions of the Corporation and its subsidiaries, including, without limitation, (a) assisting the Board’s oversight of (i) the integrity of the Corporation’s financial statements, (ii) the Corporation’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (iii) the Corporation’s independent auditors’ qualifications and independence, (iv) the performance of the Corporation’s independent auditors and the Corporation’s internal audit function, and (v) such other matters as shall be mandated under applicable laws, rules and regulations as well as listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), and (b) preparing the report required to be prepared by the Committee pursuant to the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) for inclusion in the Corporation’s annual proxy statement.
The Committee shall consist of three or more directors who qualify as independent directors under the listing standards of the NYSE, as determined from time to time by the Board based upon the recommendations of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Each member of the Committee shall be qualified to serve on the Committee pursuant to requirements that the Board deems appropriate.
No director may serve as a member of the Committee if such director serves on the audit committee of more than two other public companies, unless the Board determines that such simultaneous service would not impair the ability of such director to effectively serve on the Committee. Any such determination must be disclosed in the Corporation’s annual proxy statement or report on Form 10-K, as appropriate.
The chairperson of the Committee shall be designated by the Board; provided, that if the Board does not so designate a chairperson, the members of the Committee, by a majority vote, may designate a chairperson.
Any vacancy on the Committee shall be filled by majority vote of the Board. No member of the Committee shall be removed except by majority vote of the Board; provided, however, that if removing a member or members of the Committee would cause the Committee to have fewer than three members, then the Board must, based upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, at the same time appoint enough additional members to the Committee so that the Committee will have at least three qualified members.
Each member of the Committee must be financially literate, as such qualification is interpreted by the Board in its business judgment, or must become financially literate within a reasonable period of time after his or her appointment to the Committee. In addition, at least one member of the Committee must be designated by the Board to be the “audit committee financial expert,” as defined by the SEC pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Act”).
The Committee shall meet as often as it determines necessary to carry out its duties and responsibilities, but no less frequently than once every fiscal quarter. The Committee, in its discretion, may ask members of management or others to attend its meetings (or portions thereof) and to provide pertinent information as necessary. The Committee should meet separately on a periodic basis with (i) management, (ii) the head of the Corporation’s internal auditing department or other person responsible for the internal audit function and (iii) the Corporation’s independent auditors, in each case to discuss any matters that the Committee or any of the above persons or firms believe warrant Committee attention.
A majority of the members of the Committee present in person or by means of a conference telephone or other communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other shall constitute a quorum. The vote of a majority of the members of the Committee present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be the act of the Committee. Unless otherwise restricted by the By-Laws, any action required or permitted to be taken at any meeting may be taken without a meeting if all members of the Committee consent thereto in writing or by electronic transmission, and the writings or electronic transmissions are filed with the minutes of proceedings of the Committee.
The Committee shall maintain minutes of its meetings and records relating to those meetings.
In carrying out its duties and responsibilities, the Committee’s policies and procedures should remain flexible, so that it may be in a position to best address, react or respond to changing circumstances or conditions. The following duties and responsibilities are within the authority of the Committee and the Committee shall, consistent with and subject to applicable law and rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC or any other applicable regulatory authority:
Selection, Evaluation and Oversight of the Auditors
The Committee shall, on an annual basis and in coordination with the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, evaluate its performance. The evaluation shall address all matters that the Committee considers relevant to its performance, including a review and assessment of the adequacy of this charter (this “Charter”), and shall be conducted in such manner as the Committee deems appropriate.
The Committee shall deliver to the Board a report setting forth the results of its evaluation, including any recommended amendments to this Charter and any recommended changes to the Corporation’s or the Board’s policies and procedures.
The Committee may conduct or authorize investigations into or studies of matters within the Committee’s scope of responsibilities, and may retain, at the Corporation’s expense, such independent counsel or other consultants or advisers as it deems necessary.
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While the Committee has the duties and responsibilities set forth in this Charter, the Committee is not responsible for preparing or certifying the financial statements, for planning or conducting the audit or for determining whether the Corporation’s financial statements are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.
In fulfilling their responsibilities hereunder, it is recognized that members of the Committee are not full-time employees of the Corporation, it is not the duty or responsibility of the Committee or its members to conduct “field work” or other types of auditing or accounting reviews or procedures or to set auditor independence standards, and each member of the Committee shall be entitled to rely on (i) the integrity of those persons and organizations within and outside the Corporation from which it receives information and (ii) the accuracy of the financial and other information provided to the Committee, in either instance absent actual knowledge to the contrary.
The foregoing responsibilities and duties set forth in this Charter should serve as a guide only, with the express understanding that the Committee may carry out additional responsibilities and duties and adopt additional policies and procedures as may be necessary in light of any changing business, legislative, regulatory, legal or other conditions.
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- PURPOSE OF THE COMMITTEE
- COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE
- MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
- DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMMITTEE
The Committee should present its conclusions with respect to the above matters, as well as its review of the lead partner and the reviewing partner of the independent auditors, and its views on whether there should be a regular rotation of the independent auditors, to the Board.
Oversight of Annual Audit and Quarterly Reviews
Oversight of the Financial Reporting Process and Internal Controls
- Be directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of any independent registered public accounting firm engaged for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attest services for the Corporation, and each such registered public accounting firm must report directly to the Committee (the registered public accounting firm engaged for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report for inclusion in the Corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K is referred to herein as the “independent auditors”);
Review and, in its sole discretion, approve in advance the Corporation’s independent auditors’ annual engagement letter, including the proposed fees contained therein, as well as all audit and, as provided in the Act and the SEC rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, all permitted non-audit engagements and relationships between the Corporation and such independent auditors (which approval should be made after receiving input from the Corporation’s management, if desired). Pre-approval of audit services up to a certain amount will be made by the Committee. Approval of audit services exceeding the amount pre-approved by the Committee and permitted non-audit services will be made by the Committee or by the chairperson of the Committee and the chairperson shall report such approval to the Committee at the next scheduled meeting and obtain ratification of such approval;
Evaluate the performance of the Corporation’s independent auditors on an annual basis, including the lead partner and reviewing partner of the independent auditors, and, in the Committee’s sole discretion (subject, if applicable, to shareholder ratification), make decisions regarding the replacement or termination of the independent auditors when circumstances warrant;
Ensure that the Corporation’s independent auditors submit to the Committee on an annual basis a written statement (required by applicable requirements of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding the independent auditors’ communications with the audit committee concerning independence and any similar requirements as to independence under applicable laws, rules and regulations as well as the NYSE’s listing standards. Discuss with such independent auditors any disclosed relationships or services that may impact its objectivity and independence and satisfy itself as to the Corporation’s independent auditors’ independence.
Obtain at least annually from the Corporation’s independent auditors and review a report describing:
- the independent auditors’ internal quality-control procedures;
- any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the independent auditors, or by any inquiry or investigation by any governmental or professional authority, within the preceding five years, respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the independent auditors, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues; and
- all relationships between the independent auditors and the Corporation (including a description of each category of services provided by the independent auditors to the Corporation and a list of the fees billed for each such category);
- Evaluate the independence of the Corporation’s independent auditors by, among other things:
- monitoring compliance by the Corporation’s independent auditors with the audit partner rotation requirements contained in the Act and the rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC thereunder;
- monitoring compliance by the Corporation of the employee conflict of interest requirements contained in the Act and the rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC thereunder; and
- engaging in a dialogue with the independent auditors to confirm that audit partner compensation is consistent with applicable SEC rules;
- Review and discuss with the independent auditors their annual audit plan, including the timing and scope of audit activities, and monitor such plan’s progress and results during the year;
- Review with management, the Corporation’s independent auditors and the head of the Corporation’s internal auditing department, the following information which is required to be reported by the independent auditor:
- all critical accounting policies and practices to be used;
- all alternative treatments of financial information that have been discussed by the independent auditors and management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditors;
- all other material written communications between the independent auditors and management, such as any management letter and any schedule of unadjusted differences; and
- any material financial arrangements of the Corporation which do not appear on the financial statements of the Corporation;
- Review with management, the Corporation’s independent auditors and, if appropriate, the head of the Corporation’s internal auditing department, the following:
- the Corporation’s annual audited financial statements and quarterly financial statements, including the Corporation’s disclosures under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and any major issues related thereto;
- major issues regarding accounting principles and financial statements presentations, including any significant changes in the Corporation’s selection or application of accounting principles;
- any analyses prepared by management and/or the independent auditors 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 methods on the Corporation’s financial statements; and
- the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives, as well as off-balance sheet structures, on the financial statements of the Corporation;
- Resolve all disagreements between the Corporation’s independent auditors and management regarding financial reporting;
- Review on a regular basis with the Corporation’s independent auditors any problems or difficulties encountered by the independent auditors in the course of any audit work, including management’s response with respect thereto, any restrictions on the scope of the independent auditor’s activities or on access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management. In connection therewith, the Committee should review with the independent auditors the following:
- any accounting adjustments that were noted or proposed by the independent auditors but were rejected by management (as immaterial or otherwise);
- any communications between the audit team and the independent auditor’s national office respecting auditing or accounting issues presented by the engagement; and
- any “management” or “internal control” letter issued, or proposed to be issued, by the independent auditors to the Corporation;
- the adequacy and effectiveness of the Corporation’s accounting and internal control policies and procedures on a regular basis, including the responsibilities, budget, compensation and staffing of the Corporation’s internal audit function, through inquiry and discussions with the Corporation’s independent auditors, management and director of the Corporation’s internal auditing department;
- the yearly report prepared by management, and attested to by the Corporation’s independent auditors to the extent required assessing the effectiveness of the Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting and stating management’s responsibility for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting prior to its inclusion in the Corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K; and
- the Committee’s level of involvement and interaction with the Corporation’s internal audit function, including the Committee’s line of authority and role in appointing and compensating employees in the internal audit function;
- Review with the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and independent auditors, periodically, the following:
- all significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in the design or operation of internal control over financial reporting which are reasonably likely to adversely affect the Corporation’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial information; and
- any fraud, whether or not material, that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting;
- Discuss guidelines and policies governing the process by which senior management of the Corporation and the relevant departments of the Corporation, including the internal auditing department, assess and manage the Corporation’s exposure to risk, as well as the Corporation’s major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures;
- Review with management the progress and results of all internal audit projects, and, when deemed necessary or appropriate by the Committee, direct the Corporation’s chief executive officer to assign additional internal audit projects to the head of the Corporation’s internal auditing department;
- Review with management the Corporation’s administrative, operational and accounting internal controls, including any special audit steps adopted in light of the discovery of material control deficiencies;
- Receive periodic reports from the Corporation’s independent auditors, management and head of the Corporation’s internal auditing department to assess the impact on the Corporation of significant accounting or financial reporting developments that may have a bearing on the Corporation;
- Review and discuss with the independent auditors the results of the year-end audit of the Corporation, including any comments or recommendations of the Corporation’s independent auditors and, based on such review and discussions and on such other considerations as it determines appropriate, recommend to the Board whether the Corporation’s financial statements should be included in the Annual Report on Form 10-K;
- Establish and maintain free and open means of communication between and among the Committee, the Corporation’s independent auditors, the Corporation’s internal auditing department and management, including providing such parties with appropriate opportunities to meet separately and privately with the Committee on a periodic basis;
- Review the type and presentation of financial information to be included in the Corporation's earnings press releases and provided by the Corporation to third parties;
- Establish clear hiring policies by the Corporation for employees or former employees of the Corporation’s independent auditors;
- Meet periodically with the general counsel, and outside counsel when appropriate, to review legal and regulatory matters, including (i) any matters that may have a material impact on the financial statements of the Corporation and (ii) any matters involving potential or ongoing material violations of law or breaches of fiduciary duty by the Corporation or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents or breaches of fiduciary duty to the Corporation;
- Prepare the report required by the rules of the SEC to be included in the Corporation’s annual proxy statement;
- Review the Corporation’s policies relating to the ethical handling of conflicts of interest and review past or proposed transactions between the Corporation and members of management as well as policies and procedures with respect to officers’ expense accounts and perquisites, including the use of corporate assets. The Committee shall consider the results of any review of these policies and procedures by the Corporation’s independent auditors;
- Review and approve in advance any services provided by the Corporation’s independent auditors to the Corporation’s executive officers or members of their immediate family;
- Establish procedures for (i) the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Corporation regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and (ii) the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the Corporation of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters;
- Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of reports of evidence of a material violation made by attorneys appearing and practicing before the SEC in the representation of the Corporation or any of its subsidiaries, or reports made by the Corporation’s chief executive officer or general counsel in relation thereto;
- Secure independent expert advice to the extent the Committee determines it to be appropriate, including retaining, with or without Board approval, independent counsel, accountants, consultants or others, to assist the Committee in fulfilling its duties and responsibilities, the cost of such independent expert advisors to be borne by the Corporation;
- Report regularly to the Board on its activities, as appropriate. In connection therewith, the Committee should review with the Board any issues that arise with respect to the quality or integrity of the Corporation’s financial statements, the Corporation’s compliance with legal or regulatory requirements, the performance and independence of the Corporation’s independent auditors, or the performance of the internal audit function; and
- Perform such additional activities, and consider such other matters, within the scope of its responsibilities, as the Committee or the Board deems necessary or appropriate.
- EVALUATION OF THE COMMITTEE
- INVESTIGATIONS AND STUDIES; OUTSIDE ADVISERS
- Financial Expert
- Independent Director