Letters – 10 December

Law and disorder

Arrogant or what?

In your article on self-regulation (26 November), you quote one PricewaterhouseCoopers partner as saying the profession should set its own ethics and standards ‘above the law’, and another as doubting whether there are ‘enough quality people to go around’ to fill the independent regulatory boards.

I expect Peter Wyman meant professional ethics and standards should be better or more stringent than the law rather than ‘above’ it (a term which brings to mind people like his firm’s ex-client Robert Maxwell rather than the way most of us like to imagine your average professional).

But what can be Roger Davis’ definition of these ‘quality people’ of whom he fears there are so few ‘to go around’? And if there are so few of them, what sort of people are the ones of whom his huge firm is proud to recruit such large numbers throughout the world every day of the year?

Nick Harrison BA FCA FCCA, Aldershot, Hampshire

Sound ethics offshore

Re: ‘The Edwards Review of Offshore Centres’ – it is not surprising that the review indicates a broadly positive picture of regulatory systems in the offshore centres examined.

Firms engaged in the financial and corporate services industry in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man display a very high level of ethics and professionalism which is clearly encouraged by appropriate regulatory regimes.

Perhaps Andrew Edwards should review regimes onshore to ensure that a similar level of regulation exists and, in particular, whether the National Criminal Intelligence Service has adequate resources to effectively undertake its anti-money laundering role.

The UK economy benefits greatly from its prominence as an important financial centre, with both company and taxation law rightly aiding its attraction.

Yet many of those involved in the industry are not controlled by some form of licensing in the way that firms in some of the offshore centres are.

It may be, for example, that the standards of business providing company incorporation, domiciliary and associated trustee services would benefit if their activities were licensed and monitored by a body such as Companies House.

M Whitwell FCA, FCCA, ATII, Bristol

A change is as good as it gets

I have, in the last couple of weeks, attended a number of CPD lectures on new financial reporting standards, and on self-assessment.

Today, by sheer coincidence the following quote was drawn to my attention by a senior quality assurance executive in an international software house:

‘We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganised.

‘I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress, while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralisation’.

Caius Petronius, Anno Domini 66.

Perhaps familiarity with the classics should be a condition of ASB membership.

David Gordon FCCA,

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