PwC chief urges accountants to help prevent future financial crises

Ian Powell, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Ian Powell, PricewaterhouseCoopers

New PricewaterhouseCoopers UK chairman Ian Powell has used his first major
speech to urge accountants to contribute to fixing the work financial system by
creating an early warning system for future crises.

Speaking at the firm’s building public trust awards in London on Monday
night, Powell said dealing with systemic risk in unregulated entities had to be
a priority for regulators.

‘The real challenge is to improve our regulations and not just add more,’ he
said. ‘Regulatory change is an opportunity to simplify, stream line and look at
the real costs and benefits.’

Powell urged further change. ‘We need a better mechanism to flag problems, to
highlight the symptoms,’ he said.

‘I want the leading accounting firms to be willing to join the top table,
with business leaders, with regulators, central bankers, credit rating agencies
and others to identify ways of creating an early warning system. Precisely how
we do this I honestly don’t know – but if we are to learn from recent events we
need to find an answer.’

Anglo American plc and Amlin plc won the overall categories for the FTSE 100
and FTSE 250 respectively, while a new award for sustainability reporting went
to Marks and Spencer Group plc. The people reporting award was won by Vodafone,
reporting of executive remuneration by Aviva and tax reporting by Kazakhmys. The
Highways Agency took the public sector award.

Related reading