Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG have asked their executives and partners to report cryptocurrency investments they or their family members made in the past year.
The move is part of the companies’ annual risk-assessment process, during which they sought information on non-fungible tokens and other crypto assets.
Deloitte and PwC partners have been asked to disclose investments as small as Rs 10 in such assets.
According to insiders, the companies are primarily concerned about conflict of interest when partners or family members have invested in crypto assets.
RBI And Conflict Of Interest
Many of the Big Four’s projects involve the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the government.
Due to this partnership, the firms may wish to be transparent and honest with the regulator.
The majority of investors in such assets are executives and young partners, whereas the older investors tend to stick with traditional investments such as equity and real estate.
The Big Four firms are not requiring all employees to share details of their investments in this area; the focus is on the 1,600 or so partners.
They oversee certain service functions, such as consulting, taxation, or auditing.
Every year, they are required to report their liabilities and assets, including investments such as equity and mutual funds, but this year cryptocurrency has been added to that list.
In PwC’s case, every staff member, including associates, have to participate in the exercise.
No Ban But Punishment For Non Disclosure
To date, none of the big 4 have prohibited their employees or associates from investing in cryptocurrencies.
However, they impose punishments for concealing transactions related to that.
Employees need to watch out for their family members’ business too, lest they incur a substantial fine.
One executive was questioned after it was discovered that her husband may have invested about Rs 10,000 in cryptocurrencies in July this year.
She was fined Rs 25,000 for hiding this information by the compliance department.
Levels Of Punishment
It consists of 100-150 people who verify the truthfulness of disclosures made by partners.
Another partner advised those who had invested in cryptocurrencies or their family members to come clean.
Hiding this information invites varying degrees of punishments where level 1 is just a warning but level 4 is a sackable offence.