The news came as the bank presented its results for the first half of the year, which showed a pre-tax profit of £1.56bn in line with expectations.
Finance director Helen Weir shared concerns expressed by insurance firms Prudential and Aviva over the speed at which the new standard from the Accounting Standards Board is due to be brought into force.
The standard, currently at exposure draft stage, has been brought in to improve the clarity and transparency of financial statements of organisations with life assurance businesses, following the publication of the Penrose report on Equitable Life.
Weir said that full-year results could be put back by a ‘couple of weeks’ due to the standard’s introduction, and added that the standard might not be thought through properly due to the political pressure to get it done quickly.
‘It’s a fairly real concern for many insurers,’ said Iain Coke, financial services industry manager at the ICAEW. ‘It brings regulatory numbers into the equation, and these are usually only finalised some time after the audit report comes out.’
He said that 2004’s results would be further complicated for insurers by the introduction of realistic reporting.
This latest standards debacle is the first big challenge for Weir who only took up her post as FD in April this year. Before that she had served as FD with Kingfisher and B&Q.
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