Financial Power List 2019: 21-25 revealed

Financial Power List 2019: 21-25 revealed

Our Financial Power List 2019 ranks the 50 individuals who we believe will make the biggest difference to the accountancy industry over the next 12 months

Compiled by the Accountancy Age editorial team, the Financial Power List 2019 ranks the 50 individuals who we believe will make the biggest difference in the accountancy industry over the next 12 months.  Individuals considered for the list span government, practice and business. Their status or role does not guarantee their position in this ranking, but rather we have chosen individuals who we think will have an impact in one way or another based on what changes they are predicted to spearhead, whether that be in government policy, tax changes, regulation, firm growth, or industry diversity.

Make sure you check back to view the full rankings, which will be released on 15 February, with five individuals announced every day between now and then.

Here, we reveal the individuals who have made positions 21-25 on this year’s list.

21.  Steve Varley, Chairman and Managing Parter, EY 

Steering clients through the unchartered waters of Brexit will be a priority for Varley this year. Varley is an outspoken champion of British entrepreneurs and how they are key to the UK’s prosperity in a post-Brexit world.

He has been a vocal campaigner for the need for a proper transition as the UK leaves the EU, and lobbied against a no-deal Brexit. He is also a recognised campaigner for diversity in the workforce as a commercial imperative. Elsewhere, the firm reported modest growth in 2018, with a revenue growth of 2.7 percent. This was interpreted by some as an indication of a widening gap between EY and the two biggest firms in the Big Four, PwC and Deloitte.

 

22. Jean Stephens, CEO, RSM International 

t has been a year of growth and expansion for RSM, and the firm has grown by 120 per cent in the last 10 years. In 2018, RSM GmbH notably announced a merger with PFK Frankfurt, and RSM sealed its position above Grant Thornton symbolically when scandal-hit Patisserie Valerie announced it was replacing Grant Thornton with RSM as auditors. This year, RSM is poised to gain from changes to the audit market which see mid-tier firms taking a share of the Big Four’s pie.  A passionate diversity champion and innovator, Stephens is poised to lead RSM International into the next chapter for accounting

23. Nicky Morgan, Chair of Treasury Select Committee

When Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics, that was before Brexit negotiations, which can make even a day seem like an eternity.

Pro-EU Nicky Morgan has been working hard to avoid a no-deal Brexit and seek alternatives to a hard border in Northern Ireland. Her approach in seeking a cross-party consensus on Brexit and putting forward a Norway-style relationship with the EU has won her some supporters in the business community. However, with the Brexit deadline looming and the possibility of another election on the cards, it remains to be seen how long Morgan will remain critical to such discussions.

 

24. Sir John Kingman, Chairman of Legal & General

Kingman has been enshrined in Whitehall for much of his career. He is now Chairman of Legal & General plc and Chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Previously he was Second Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury.

The Kingman Review was released at the end of 2018, recommending that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) be scrapped in favour of a new Audit, Reporting, and Governance Authority. Kingman also proposed ending the self-regulation of the big audit firms.

The government have promised to consider his recommendations, meaning 2019 may well see him make a huge difference to the world of audit. Whether his suggestions are taken on or not, we know he is committed to improving audit quality in the UK.

 

25. David Gwilliam, CEO, RSM UK

Gwilliam took over from Laurence Longe as UK CEO of the mid-tier firm in 2018, after Longe served in the role for 22 years.

Since then, RSM UK has focused on regional expansion and is poised to take advantage of a shake-up of the audit market, significantly winning the bid to audit troubled Patisserie Valerie from Grant Thornton.

Gwilliam has been at RSM since 2014, working as chief operating officer, and was previously at Baker Tilly – now part of RSM – as a partner.

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