In the fabulously ornate great room at the Royal Society of Arts last week, a new buzzword was born. Accountancy’s great and good were gathered to hear Financial Reporting Council chairman Sir Bryan Nicholson deliver his vision for the future of the industry. What they took away was an uncomfortable, nagging feeling that they were being over-regulated.
Sir Bryan told his audience that, with the Higgs, Smith and combined codes firmly in place, it was time to update the Turnbull code on corporate governance. With his audience reeling from this verbal volley, Sir Bryan urged others to rein back from adding to what are, after all, only the regulators’ codes. ‘Recently many competing codes and guidelines have been developed by different investment bodies, and even more are being generated,’ Sir Bryan said, looking like a headmaster disappointed with his pupils. ‘They are not consistent between themselves, and are not always even consistent with the combined code.’
During his address, Sir Bryan’s use of the ‘code’ word hit double figures, and acknowledged that cases of code indigestion were on the rise. And that was before a Q&A session largely centred on … yep, you guessed it.
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