Boyle blasts ‘amateur’ investors

The head of the Financial Reporting Council has described investor engagement
on regulatory issues as ‘amateur’ and urged shareholders to smarten up their act
if they want a role in crucial accounting issues.

Investors are poor in their engagement and have not invested in the skills
needed to engage, Paul Boyle said, as he and other figures rounded on an
investment community that has been vocal in the last eighteen months over issues
of audit competition and choice in particular.

Boyle, speaking at the launch of a survey that showed investors want more
engagement with regulators, said: ‘The quality of engagement we receive from
investors is poor when compared to issuers and auditors. You cannot engage on
these issues on an amateur basis. If investors believe an issue is important
then they need to invest in skills and people, as other stakeholders do.’

The remarks will be welcomed by many Big Four figures, who have been bitterly
critical of investors’ proposals to reshape the accounting industry. The large
firms believe that many of the radical proposals have been borne of ignorance.

The regulator’s remarks were supported by other leading figures. ‘We are
always told that we never do enough in consultations, but we need more from
investors. We need real input from real money managers,’ said International
Accounting Standards Board member Philippe Danjou.

The IASB has suffered intense criticism from investors and analysts, who have
claimed the body is run by academic theorists who have no grasp of practical
business issues.

The International Corporate Governance Network survey of investors managing
funds worth $2.5 trillion (£1.29 trillion), found two thirds believed regulators
failed to consult sufficiently with investors.

Bill Hicks, director of external financial reporting at AstraZeneca backed
investors. ‘Investors and preparers want the same thing but have found it hard
to communicate with standards setters,’ he said.

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