Risk Management Archives - Emile Woolf writes

Economic Perspectives 20 – “Buffers for Duffers!’

ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES 20 – August 2017   BUFFERS FOR DUFFERS! Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, tells us that “this time it’s different” because the capital “buffers” (amounts that lending banks must retain in their free reserves) now imposed by central banks will prevent a banking crisis similar to the sub-prime implosion that […]

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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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Economic Perspectives 2 – Perverse Labour Laws

Blindness of French labour laws When I was recently on holiday in the South of France the socialist government of Francois Hollande was obliged to take the unusual step of by-passing democratic means of getting his labour reform measures into law. He resorted to the rarely invoked “executive power”, to force through changes in labour […]

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PRUDENT ACCOUNTING – NEEDED MORE THAN EVER

Unaccountable accounting began three decades ago. I know, because I was there when it happened. As a member of the UK Auditing Practices Committee (APC), I acted as its observer on the Accounting Standards Committee (ASC). Professional life was simpler then: ASC set the accounting standards, effectively UK GAAP, and APC set the auditing standards. […]

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If audits disregard the client’s culture, they are an expensive waste of time

  How to gauge the effectiveness of audits? It is tempting to point to the growing scale of undetected irregularities and outright frauds and conclude that external audits are simply not fit for purpose. Yet there is no objective measure for assessing how much worse things would be without them. What if corporate propriety resided […]

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QUESTIONS FOR THE PROFESSION’S REGULATOR

Columnists are spoilt for choice – I could have covered the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing programme (more accurately, “counterfeit”); the Greek anti-austerity surge (“reneging on your debts”); unshackling the Swiss franc (“reality check”) – and I could have thrown in the fact that the examination syllabus for becoming a chartered accountant excludes the word […]

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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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Audit Scope: common sense beats rules, every time

The argument about auditors’ contribution to the 2008 debt crisis is still unresolved, and it will remain so until the central question of audit scope is addressed. The traditional perception that auditing has an historic focus merely entrenches its uselessness in the face of a radically altered commercial environment and risk levels that demand a […]

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Audit scope: we need a Court case to sound a wake-up call

The relevance of any set of accounts obviously wanes as time passes. Vast, complex multinational conglomerates, required by law and market expectations to present published financial statements within strict deadlines, can manage this process if well-governed, but auditing those statements within the same time frame can present even the largest audit firms with serious logistical […]

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