Insurance Archives - Emile Woolf writes

Boardroom mega bucks – ludicrous pay deals

Explaining boardroom mega-bucks The basic pay of most employees is governed by industrial and professional norms, and is relatively stable over time when so-called “inflation” adjustments are factored in. Almost unbelievably, today’s average hourly wage has the same buying power as it did 45 years ago! By contrast, executive remuneration in the largest companies is […]

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Pension fund audits: time for a rethink

November 2016 “Accountancy” The central bankers’ obsession with interest rate cuts as a means of stimulating economic recovery reminds me of the “dare” games we played as children, such as “how long can you keep your finger in the candle flame?” Or, in banking terms, “how close to zero can you fix interest rates before […]

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Proper audits – are they really so difficult?

Regulatory scrutiny is an expensive waste of time and money if it focuses on the form but completely misses the substance. One wonders about the quality of diligence that preceded (and the audit work that followed) Olympus’s takeover of the UK Gyrus Group, when so-called “advisory payments” of $687 million, one-third of the entire acquisition […]

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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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The cycle of litigation – be warned

Litigation warning – remember the cycle!  The pattern of litigation tends to be cyclical since it shadows the economic cycle. When there is general prosperity and businesses flourish there is still plenty of litigation (when is there not?) but its character reflects boom-time activity. Businesses buy other businesses and then claim that they overpaid. Although […]

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Reflating the banking bubble while the real economy lags

How sustainable is the alleged economic recovery? A brighter outlook certainly appears to be in evidence in parts of the City. Construction work on glitzy office buildings has resumed. A stroll through the Royal Exchange takes you past packed wine bars, expensive restaurants and boutiques displaying the most opulent array of branded merchandise – jewellery, […]

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Demise of the Independent Insurance Company – Lessons galore

The criminal findings against former directors of the Independent Insurance Company were of particular interest to me: a large slice of my firm’s primary layer of professional indemnity insurance was carried by the Independent at the time of its collapse in mid-2001 and had to be replaced in a hurry. Secondly, a small team from […]

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Qualified Audit Reports: Don’t show them to the FRRP

In June the Financial Reporting Review Panel (“FRRP”) published a Consultation Paper called “Proposal to encourage voluntary disclosure of qualified audit reports”.  The text makes it clear, however, that it is the auditor rather than the company that is being “encouraged” to make voluntary disclosure – promptly, ahead of public filings, directly to the FRRP.  […]

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Spicing up the Audit Report will end in tears

A study of the evolution of the form and content of UK audit reports over, say, the past 50 years would make nostalgic but intriguing reading because it would at the same time reflect changing public and investor expectations of the audit function.   Under the Companies Act 1948 audit reports were required, positively, to […]

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Time to give unaudited accounts “compilation” status

Last month I highlighted the deterioration in quality of company accounts on file, linking this phenomenon to the increase in number of companies exempt from audit.   Since the new Companies Act makes no attempt to address this issue the profession’s own Professional Oversight Board (POB) now strongly supports the view that the involvement of […]

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