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Audit Committee Charter
Audit Committee Charter
First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.
Purpose of the Committee
The Audit Committee (the "Committee") is a committee composed of members of the Board of Directors (the "Board") of First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc. (and any of its public reporting affiliates, as appropriate) (the "Company"). The purpose of the Committee is to assist in the Board's oversight of (i) the integrity of the Company's financial statements, (ii) the Company's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (iii) the Company's independent auditors' qualifications and independence, and (iv) the performance of the Company's independent auditors and the Company's internal audit function. The Committee shall also provide for open communication among the independent auditor, management, the internal auditing department and the Board.
The Committee shall also prepare the report required by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission") to be included in the Company's annual proxy statement.
The Committee shall consist of at least three of the Company's directors, each of whom shall be qualified to serve on the Committee pursuant to the requirements of the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"), Section 10A(m)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), and the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission. Each member of the Committee shall be free of any relationship that, in the judgment of the Board, would interfere with the exercise of his or her independent judgment. Committee members and the Committee chairperson shall be appointed by the Board on the recommendation of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Members of the Committee may be replaced by the Board.
Each member of the Committee shall 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 shall be designated by the Board to be the "audit committee financial expert", as such term is defined in the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission pursuant to the Exchange Act. Committee members shall not simultaneously serve on the audit committee of more than two other public companies.
Meetings of the Committee
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 any officer or employee of the Company or the Company's outside counsel or independent auditor to attend meetings and provide pertinent information as necessary. The Committee shall meet separately in executive sessions, on a periodic basis as it deems necessary, with (i) management (including the chief executive officer and chief financial officer), (ii) the director of the Company's internal auditing department or any other person responsible for the internal audit function, and (iii) the Company'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, and have such other direct and independent interaction with such persons from time to time as the members of the Committee deem appropriate. To the extent they determine appropriate, the Committee members may communicate outside such meetings with one another and with members of management and the independent auditors.
A majority of members of the Committee present in person or by means of a conference telephone or other communications equipment shall constitute a quorum.
The Committee shall maintain written minutes of its meetings and records relating to those meetings and shall report regularly to the Board on its activities, as appropriate.
Committee Authority and Responsibilities
The Committee shall have the sole authority to appoint or replace the independent auditor (subject, if applicable, to stockholder ratification). The 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 Committee. The Committee shall preapprove all auditing services, internal control-related services and permitted non-audit services (including the terms thereof) to be performed for the Company by its independent auditor, subject to the de minimis exceptions for non-audit services described in Section 10A(i)(1)(B) of the Exchange Act that are approved by the Committee prior to the completion of the audit. The Committee shall review and discuss with the independent auditor any documentation supplied by the independent auditor as to the nature and scope of any tax services to be approved, as well as the potential effects of the provision of such services on the auditor's independence. The Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees consisting of one or more members when appropriate, including the authority to grant preapprovals of audit and permitted non-audit services, provided that decisions of such subcommittee to grant preapprovals shall be presented to the full Committee at its next scheduled meeting.
The 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 appropriate funding, as determined by the Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditor for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attestation services to the Company and to any advisors employed by the Committee, as well as funding for the payment of ordinary administrative expenses of the Committee that are necessary or appropriate in carrying out its duties.
The Committee shall make regular reports to the Board. The Committee shall annually review its own performance. The Committee shall periodically review and reassess the adequacy of this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.
The Committee shall:
Financial Statement and Disclosure Matters
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the annual audited financial statements, including disclosures made in the Company's Exchange Act reports entitled "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation", and recommend to the Board whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company's Form 10-K.
- 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.
- 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.
- Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company's internal controls, any special steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies and the adequacy of disclosures about changes in internal control over financial reporting.
- Review and discuss with management (including the senior internal audit executive) and the independent auditor the Company's internal controls report and the independent auditor's attestation report prior to the filing of the Company's Form 10-K.
- Review reports from the independent auditor on:
- all critical accounting policies and practices to be used;
- all alternative treatments of financial information within U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor; and
- other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
- Discuss with management the Company's earnings press releases, as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies. Such discussions may be general (consisting of discussing the types of information to be disclosed and the types of presentations to be made), and each earnings release or each instance in which the Company provides earnings guidance need not be discussed in advance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Review and approve, at least annually, the Company's policies regarding the use of derivatives transactions and the Company's decision to enter into derivatives transactions.
- Discuss with the independent auditor any difficulties encountered in the course of the audit work, any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management, along with management's response to such difficulties or disagreements.
- Review disclosures made to the Audit Committee by the Company's CEO and CFO during their certification process for the Form 10-K and Forms 10-Q about any significant deficiencies in the design or operation 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
- Before the engagement of an independent auditor and at least annually thereafter, review and discuss with the independent auditor the independent auditor's written communications to the Committee regarding the relationships between the auditor and the Company that, in the auditor's professional judgment, may reasonably be thought to bear on its independence and affirm in writing to the audit committee that the auditor is independent.
- Review and evaluate the lead partner of the independent auditor team.
- 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 independent auditor, 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 independent auditor, (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 auditor, including considering whether the independent auditor's quality controls are adequate and the provision of permitted non-audit services is compatible with maintaining the auditor's independence, taking into account the opinions of management and internal auditors. The Committee shall present its conclusions with respect to the independent auditor to the Board.
- Ensure the rotation of the audit partners as required by law. Consider whether, in order to ensure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the independent auditing firm on a regular basis.
- Set policies for the Company's hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor.
- Discuss with the independent auditor material issues on which the national office of the independent auditor was consulted by the Company's audit team.
- 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
- Review the appointment and replacement of the senior internal auditing executive.
- Review the significant reports to management prepared by the internal auditing department and management's responses.
- Discuss with the independent auditor and management the internal audit department's responsibilities, budget and staffing and any recommended changes in the planned scope of the internal audit.
Compliance Oversight Responsibilities
- Obtain assurance from the independent auditor that, in the course of conducting the audit, there have been no acts that the auditor has become aware of that require disclosure to the Committee under Section 10A(b) of the Exchange Act.
- Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
- Discuss with management and the independent auditor any correspondence with regulators or governmental agencies and any published reports that raise material issues regarding the Company's financial statements or accounting policies.
- 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 and internal controls.
- Review the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control systems with respect to information technology security.
- Review the Company’s corporate policies, initiatives and disclosures with respect to sustainability and environmental risk, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG).
Limitation of Committee's Role
While the Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter, it is not the duty of the Committee to plan or conduct audits or to determine that the Company's financial statements and disclosures are complete and accurate and are in accordance with GAAP applicable rules and regulations. These are the responsibilities of management and the independent auditor.
Effective February 27, 2020