Revolut expects to sign off on its financial accounts next week after months of delays in finalising the figures as auditors put pressure on the fintech group to improve its internal controls.
The UK-based company’s audit committee will meet on Thursday to approve the 2021 financial accounts, which are then expected to be signed off by auditor BDO on Friday, people familiar with the matter told the Financial Times.
The company, led by Nikolay Storonksy, has suffered significant growing pains in its quest to take on traditional banks. Insiders have revealed a hard-charging culture and the company, last valued at $33bn in July 2021, has been hit by high-profile departures of senior compliance staff.
Regulators have examined its culture and requested a separate review of the measures in place to prevent and detect financial crime at the fintech which has been seeking a UK banking licence since early 2021.
The filing of the accounts could clear another of the obstacles to the company’s attempts to gain the licence. The UK regulators in charge of granting the licence — the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority — declined to comment.
The accounts for the year ending December 2021 were required to be submitted to Companies House in September 2022. The fintech was then given an extension until the end of December — a deadline it has also failed to meet.
In a statement on January 6, Revolut said its accounts had been “finalised”.
On Friday, it repeated that the accounts were “finalised” and that it expected to confirm the business was profitable. “We are very proud of this and intend to file the accounts soon,” it said. BDO declined to comment.
While final sign-off could be delayed by any late concerns, the people with knowledge of the matter said they were not expecting additional hold-ups.
BDO has been pushing Revolut to improve its internal controls after the UK accounting regulator, the Financial Reporting Council, found there was an “unacceptably high” risk of “material misstatement” in its 2020 accounts.
The FRC findings, revealed by the FT in September, included that BDO’s audit had an “inadequate” approach to revenue recognition. The FRC’s criticism of BDO had resulted in the auditor taking a tougher approach to this year’s accounts, said people with knowledge of the matter.
One person close to Revolut said the regulators could give the fintech “authorisation with restriction” — a precursor to receiving a full banking licence — within months and as soon as March following the submission of accounts.
Storonsky told the FT in November 2021 that he hoped to secure a UK banking licence early in 2022. Last November, he said “we’re very close to the end of the process, or as close as we’ve ever been”.
Revolut has evolved from a low-fee money transfer service to offer bank accounts across Europe through its Lithuanian banking licence. Its previous funding round made it the second most valuable private fintech in Europe and meant it did not have to go back to the market as tech valuations crumbled.
Analysts say that a UK banking licence would help boost profitability particularly as higher rates make deposits more valuable, and would also help convince regulators in other markets to offer it licences.
Revolut could be fined by Companies House for failing to file its accounts on time. The penalty for filing up to three months late is up to £375 per company. Company directors may also face prosecution if the registry chooses to pursue them.
Its European bank was fined €70,000 in November for late filing of its financial statements.