Negligence & Liability Archives - Page 5 of 6 - Emile Woolf writes

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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Reforming banks’ governance is not possible without real sanctions

The reforms recommended by Sir David Walker for the governance of banks would, if implemented, impose a huge moral responsibility on executive and non-executive banking directors alike. The will to exercise independent judgment without regard to personal advantage – whether money, power or status – is a rare commodity in commercial life, and it cannot […]

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End hypocrisy: only a culture change will achieve G-20 goals

  In the midst of G20 euphoria who can assess the effectiveness of its efforts to stabilize the economic turmoil? When the dust settles it will be people, not governments, who decide how successful the sweeping measures have been. Confidence, after all, is a feeling – and it’s beyond government control. Only when confidence returns […]

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Time for a reformed regulatory framework – auditing included

Time for a reformed regulatory framework – auditing included   The economic collapse is merciless in its revelations of failure, whether evidencing spineless regulation, ignorant policy-making, ineffective auditing, incompetent rating or wimpish governance. There’s nowhere to hide – as Warren Buffett puts it, when the tide goes out you can see who’s been bathing naked. […]

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The great credit collapse: what have we learnt

  Sir Thomas Gresham was a formidable figure in the late 16th Century. He built the Royal Exchange, the most fabulous commercial building of its day. Modeled on the Antwerp Bourse, it contained 150 small shops, making it one of the world’s first shopping malls. Yet its chief virtue was that, for the first time, […]

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Regulators, rating agencies, accountants, economists: they haven’t a clue.

Accountants are mere recorders, whereas forecasting lies within the province of chartists, economists and strategists. Yet accountants must share at least some of the blame for the lapse in forecasting reliability. After all, investment strategists require indicative source material in the form of financial statements prepared and audited by accountants. The principal justification for today’s […]

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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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Prescriptive accounts? I’d rather they were understandable

Interpretation of those magic words “true and fair” has long been the subject of philosophical debate.  International Accounting Standard (IAS) 1 requires companies merely to present their accounts “fairly”, which has always been the US formulation.  The IAS regime does, however, insist that any international standard which the EC is proposing to adopt must not be […]

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The consequences of mindless regulation are always heartless

The Institute recently announced its decision to open its disciplinary and appeals hearings to the public and press.  It is said that this accords with the practice of other professional bodies.  Does this mean it is the right decision? I question whether the interests of the member or firm subject to the complaint were adequately […]

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