Audit Committee Charter
I. Audit Committee Purpose
The Audit Committee is appointed by the Board of Directors to assist the Board in the oversight of: (1) the integrity of financial statements of Harbor Florida Bancshares, Inc. (the "company"), (2) the independent auditor's qualifications and independence, (3) the performance of the Company's internal audit department and independent auditors, and (4) the compliance by the Company with legal and regulatory requirements; and perform the other duties of the Audit Committee specified by federal securities laws and regulations, federal law, or the listing standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. or other securities exchange or market on which the Company's securities are listed or eligible for trading ("Standards").
The Audit Committee shall prepare the annual report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission") to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.
II. Audit Committee Membership and Meetings
The Audit Committee shall consist of no fewer than three members. The members of the Audit Committee shall meet the independence and experience requirements of the NASDAQ National Market, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") and the Commission's rules thereunder. At least one member of the Audit Committee shall be a financial expert as defined by the Commission.
At a minimum, all Audit Committee members shall have (a) the
ability to read and understand fundamental financial statements, including the
Company's balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, and key
performance indicators; (b) the ability to understand key business and
financial risks, related controls and control processes. No member of the
Audit Committee shall have participated in the preparation of the financial
statements of the Company or any current subsidiary of the Company at any time
during the past three years. At least one member of the Audit Committee
shall have past employment in finance or accounting, the requisite professional
certification in accounting or other comparable experience or background which
causes such member to be financially sophisticated, including being or having
been a chief executive officer, chief financial officer or other senior officer
with financial oversight responsibilities.
The members of the Audit Committee shall be appointed by the Board on the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee on an annual basis. Audit Committee members may be replaced by the Board.
The Audit Committee shall meet as often as it determines, but not less frequently than quarterly. The Audit Committee shall meet periodically with management, the internal auditors and the independent auditor in separate executive sessions. The Audit Committee may request any officer or employee of the Company or the Company's outside counsel or independent auditor to attend a meeting of the Committee or to meet with any members of, or consultants to, the Committee.
III. Audit Committee Responsibilities and Duties
The Audit Committee shall have the sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor subject to shareholder ratification. The Audit Committee shall be directly responsible for the compensation and 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. The independent auditor shall report directly to the Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee shall pre-approve all auditing services and permitted non-audit services (including the fees and terms thereof) to be performed for the Company by its independent auditor, subject to de minimus exceptions for non-audit services described in Section 10A(i)(1)(B) of the Exchange Act which are approved by the Audit Committee prior to the completion of the audit. The Audit Committee shall not delegate its responsibilities to pre-approve services performed by the independent auditors to management.
The Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees consisting of one or more members when appropriate, including the authority to grant pre-approvals of audit and permitted non-audit services, provided that decisions of such subcommittee to grant pre-approvals shall be presented to the full Audit Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
The Audit Committee shall have the authority, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, to retain independent legal, accounting or other advisors. The Company shall provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report and to any advisors employed by the Audit Committee.
The Audit Committee shall make regular reports to the Board. The Audit Committee shall review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter annually and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval. The Audit Committee shall annually review the Audit Committee's own performance.
The Audit Committee, to the extent it deems necessary or appropriate, shall:
Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
1. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the annual audited financial statements, including disclosures made in management's discussion and analysis, and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company's Form 10-K.
2. Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company's quarterly financial statements prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor's review of the quarterly financial statements.
3. Discuss with management and the independent auditor significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the Company's financial statements, including any significant changes in the Company's selection or application of accounting principles, any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company's internal controls and any special steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies, including any fraud that involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company's internal controls.
4. Review and discuss quarterly reports from the independent auditors on:
(a) All critical accounting policies and practices to be used.
(b) All alternative treatment of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discuss with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor.
(c) Other material- written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
5. Review with management the Company's earnings press releases, including the use of "pro forma" or "adjusted" non-GAAP information, as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies. Such discussion may be done generally.
6. Discuss with management and the independent auditor the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives as well as off-balance sheet structures on the Company's financial statements.
7. Discuss with management the Company's major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures, including the Company's risk assessment and risk management policies.
8. Discuss with the independent auditor the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 relating to the conduct of the audit.
9. Discuss with the independent auditor any difficulties encountered in the course of the audit work, restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management.
10. Review disclosures made to the Audit Committee by the Company's CEO and CFO during their certification process for the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q about any significant deficiencies in the design or operations of internal controls or material weaknesses therein and any fraud involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company's internal controls.
Oversight of the
Company's Relationship with the Independent Auditor
11. Review and evaluate lead partner of the independent auditor team.
12. Obtain and review a report 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 the firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities within the preceding five years respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, (c) any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (d) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company. Evaluate the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditors, including considering whether the auditor's quality controls are adequate and the provision of permitted non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor's independence, and taking into account the opinions of management and internal auditors. The Audit Committee shall present its conclusions with respect to the independent auditor to the Board.
13. Ensure the rotation of the lead (or coordinating) audit partner having primary responsibility for the audit and the review audit partner responsible for reviewing the audit. Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating independent auditing firms on a regular basis.
14. Recommend to the Board polices for the Company's hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who participated in any capacity in the audit of the Company.
15. Discuss with the national office of the independent
auditor issues on which they were consulted by the Company's audit team and
matters of audit quality and consistency.
16. Meet with the independent auditor prior to the audit to discuss the planning and staffing of the audit.
Oversight of the Company's Internal Audit Function
17. Review and oversee the appointment and replacement of the senior internal auditing executive.
18. Review the significant reports to management by the internal auditing department and management's responses.
19. Discuss with the independent auditor and management the internal audit department responsibilities, budget and staffing and any recommended changes in the planned scope of the internal audit department.
Compliance Oversight Responsibilities
20. Obtain from the independent auditor assurance that Section 10A(b)* of the Exchange Act has not been implicated.
21. Establish complaint notification procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting, controls or auditing matters, and questionable accounting or auditing matters. The complaint notification system shall accommodate employees of the Company as well as non-employees and other third parties such as vendors, competitors and consumers. The Audit Committee shall, in its discretion, determine the most effective method for dissemination of information on the complaint system on the Company's website.
22. Discuss with management and the independent auditor any correspondence with regulators or governmental agencies and any published reports which raise material issues regarding the Company's financial statements or the Company's compliance policies.
23. Discuss with the Company's General Counsel legal matters that may have a material impact on the financial statements or the Company's compliance policies.
24. Work with management to develop a code of ethics applicable to the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other senior financial officers as may be required by the Commission's rules. The Audit Committee shall also review procedures developed by management for public disclosure of the Code of Ethics and disclosure of any modifications thereto. The Audit Committee shall also with management review and update periodically a Code of Conduct applicable to all directors, officers and employees consistent with the rules, regulations and/or standards of The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. or other securities exchange or market on which the Company's securities are listed or eligible for trading and ensure that management has established a system to enforce this Code.
* Section 10A(b) of the Exchange Act requires the independent auditor, if detects or becomes aware of any illegal act, to assure the Audit Committee is adequately informed and to provide a report if the independent auditor has reached specified conclusions with respect to such illegal acts.
Limitation of Audit Committee's Role
While the Audit Committee has the review, oversight, and reporting responsibilities set forth in this charter, it does not have responsibility for planning or conducting audits or for determining that the financial statements are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Those are responsibilities of management and the independent accountants, rather than the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee also is not responsible for ensuring compliance with laws or regulations.
Last Updated: 01/11/06