If there’s one topic that is almost guaranteed to quieten a board meeting, it’s when the CFO starts proposing that the company takes out a hedge. This is a very complex area of financial management and almost no-one understands them, and even fewer want to admit it1. Typically, the proposal is couched in obscure technical … Continue reading What’s behind the hedge?
Famously, in 2008, the Queen asked economists why no-one saw the great financial crisis coming, not least as they were giving her a full retrospective inquest into why it happened1. She might well ask the same question again now about the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, some commentators did predict the likelihood of a similar pandemic. … Continue reading ‘Not missiles, but microbes’ – Why didn’t we see it coming?
I travelled from Tashkent to Moscow on an Aeroflot Ilyushin 86 in the early 1980s. The seats were basic metal framed deckchairs, screwed to the floor1. Why don’t airlines nowadays use simple deckchairs on airplanes, instead of very heavy, crash-resistant ones? The fuel saving alone would be enormous and the temptation, especially to low … Continue reading Are you rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic? Taking corporate risk management seriously
The much-awaited Brydon Report was published just before Christmas. It didn’t get much publicity, as the festive season proved more alluring than yet another long report and profusion of recommendations on corporate governance. In a sense, this was a pity as this ambitious report contained over 60 wide-ranging recommendations that would have considerable impact on … Continue reading The Brydon Report – When looking backward should be the way forward
Right Reverend Host: "I'm afraid you've got a bad Egg, Mr Jones!" The Curate: "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!" A ‘curate’s egg’ was originally something that is described as having good parts purely out of politeness, but nowadays, is taken as something that is good in parts. … Continue reading Brydon’s curate’s egg
“Want Higher Profits? Hire a Female CEO, CFO” The article headline caught my eye. Aren’t we all looking for a magic ingredient that can guarantee financial success? I think that women are disadvantaged and undervalued in business. And this doesn’t have to be the case. The last CEO I appointed was a woman – in … Continue reading Sexing up the statistics. Who needs facts?
I am responding to the request from the Government for views on the recommendations by the Competition and Markets Authority on the market for Statutory Audit Services. This submission is made in a purely personal capacity. Over the last 25 years, I have been chairman or director of ten different companies, from small privately owned … Continue reading Response to consultation on Market Study on Statutory Audit Services
What if the government insisted that every time you bought a tin of Heinz baked beans, you had to buy at least half a tin of Crosse & Blackwell ones too? You would have to explain to the grocery regulator why you chose Heinz, and if it thought that your choice was the wrong one … Continue reading The Baked Bean Audit
I am making this submission in a purely personal capacity. Over the last 25 years, I have been Chairman or a director of ten different companies, from small privately owned to FTSE100, participating in some 200 audit committee meetings. I have never worked for an auditing firm, big or small. I am now Chairman … Continue reading My response to the Competition and Markets Authority Invitation to comment on the inquiry into the Statutory audit market
Storm clouds are gathering over the audit market. Government, politicians, media and regulators are all queueing up to condemn companies and auditors over the few, but well-publicised, failures of certain companies. Lack of knowledge about the audit process is no bar to these opinion-formers. Meanwhile industry bodies are supine in defending business and signally failing … Continue reading The audit punch-bag: Where is the voice of industry?