regulation Archives - Emile Woolf writes

Auditors’ independence – all or nothing!

ACCOUNTANCY ONLINE – AUGUST 2019 Missing the real point has become an art form EMILE WOOLF The saga of the audit giants rumbles on without any discernible sign of resolution. Even member firms within this group do not speak with one voice on proposals for reform, and recommendations from regulators have so far come up […]

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European Union – what membership entails

ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES – 28 EUROPEAN UNION – WHAT MEMBERSHIP ENTAILS The responses to my last essay in this series prompts me to develop and clarify some of the questions it raised. It addressed the way in which important Brexit issues have been clouded by uncertainty, exacerbated by predictably negative forecasting by supposedly neutral authorities, generating […]

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“Excessive regulation is the enemy of transparency”

December 2016 “ACCOUNTANCY” Excessive regulation is the enemy of transparency Government departments, lacking the relevant expertise themselves, often grant extensive powers to professional bodies responsible for overseeing the activities of their members. The chief problem with this growth of administrative (compared with constitutional) law is accountability. Given such powers, professional bodies hardly expect to be […]

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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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New face of banking regulation – and about time!

Regulation of the UK financial services industry is now entrusted to a new body with a new name and a new boss. Andrew Bailey, whose signature appears on your banknotes, takes over this month as chief executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority, successor to the FSA. Initial impressions augur well. In his first post-appointment interview […]

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Less government, less regulation, less tax: more freedom

When appointed foreign office minister in 1951, Selwyn Lloyd confessed to the Prime Minister that he had never visited a foreign country, spoke no foreign language and detested foreigners anyway. Churchill’s wry response: “just the qualifications we’re looking for!” Approaching a fraught assignment in a state of innocence is an advantage. Untainted by trappings of […]

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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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Disclosure of auditors’ papers: more misconceived EU regulation

The EU has been at it again. Its Statutory Audit Directive requires auditors ceasing to hold office to give their successors access to all “relevant information” if the successors request it. This misguided dictum is being introduced as an amendment to our Companies Act 2006 and a new Audit Regulation is being drafted. “Relevant information” […]

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Banks deserve our opprobrium: they have forgotten all basic principles

Banks deserve our opprobrium: they have forgotten all basic principles   The Chinese Sage Lao Tsu wrote, on the subject of government, that in the golden age people do not even know they are being governed; in the silver age they revere their leaders; in the iron age they respect them; and in the age […]

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Borrowers must face the reality of their choices

Since gaining its independence from the Treasury 10 years ago the Bank of England’s pledge to control inflation as its overriding priority has, until now, been visibly honoured and we have all benefited. Unlike the Treasury, however, the Bank’s sole weapon in fulfilling its mission is its autonomy over setting interest rates, and the present […]

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