Europe & the Euro Archives - Page 4 of 7 - Emile Woolf writes

Auditors, wasted loans, currency wars… and gold

I noted last month that the record of auditors’ ability to assess the worth of banks’ loan portfolios is singularly uninspiring. In the US the Securities and Exchange Commission is actively pursuing auditors who issued clean opinions after accepting management’s assurances of worth, followed by massive bailouts. Yet any meaningful audit is impossible when supposed […]

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Auditing banks’ toxic debts

AUDITING BANKS’ TOXIC DEBTS Ever since the financial markets registered their massive tumble in 2008, when Lehman Brothers was left to drown in its swamp of toxic debts, banks’ managements, regulators, rating agencies and auditors have been muttering that banks must rebuild their balance sheets in line with successive Basel capital adequacy criteria. Their auditors, […]

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Hiding the truth with complexity: trust your own reason

When I started writing for this magazine over 40 years ago the editor was a wise old owl called Geoffrey Holmes. During a conversation on some thorny accounting controversy Geoffrey would slyly suggest that I tackle it in my next article. It was no use suggesting a different subject – he would simply look at […]

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Sanity will return – In its own time

Everyone knows that the world’s economic woes are soluble. Every leader acknowledges the blessings of free trade, low taxes, sound money and less regulation. Yet their actions, as ever, speak louder than words and somehow achieve the precise opposite. Take “free trade”. It allows cross-border commercial transactions to take place between willing traders unimpeded by […]

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Time to call the European Commission to Account

The subject of Europe polarises any otherwise rational debate. Obsessional prejudice, whether pro or con, induces deafness and drives out reason. More inflammatory even than party politics (where spin and expediency have blunted the ideals), passions over Europe (the Union, not the continent) have taken on the trappings of a belief system, susceptible to neither […]

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EU membership, in or out? Think it through but tread warily

“Expert” is defined as a  person whose research, knowledge and experience accords them the respect of  their peers in a well-distinguished domain. Economics is just such a domain, yet the degree of diversity in the views of  so-called experts can be astonishing. Take one of today’s most topical issues: will a UK exit from the […]

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EU membership – in or out? Think it through, but tread warily

“Expert” is defined as a  person whose research, knowledge and experience accords them the respect of  their peers in a well-distinguished domain. Economics is just such a domain, yet the degree of diversity in the views of  so-called experts can be astonishing. Take one of today’s most topical issues: will a UK exit from the […]

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All the forecasts are wrong

THE BARCHESTER CHRONICLE’  www.barchestergreen.co.uk by Emile Woolf www.emilewoolfwrites.co.uk Forecasts are a particular problem these days. From 2009 to 2011 every prediction, from the Chancellor’s Spending Reviews to the Bank of England’s official outlooks, suggested that economic growth, however modest, would return by late 2012. Even the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Institute of Fiscal […]

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Ignore the European lessons and you pay the price – yet again!

What an interesting year for anniversaries! Exactly thirty years ago Laker Airways went bust and Bill Mackey, Laker’s liquidator, left us his own history lesson, which is now part of accountancy folklore. He produced a colourful checklist for prophesying a company’s financial collapse: lavish offices and flash company cars with personalised plates; a flagpole in […]

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