Pressure building on UK audit regulator’s leadership as inquiry begins

first_imgThe MPs’ intervention followed the release on 16 May of a damning report into the collapse of the outsourcing firm Carillion. The report accused the Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the FRC of being “united in their feebleness and timidity”.TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb announced last week that she would step down from her role at the end of her contract in February 2019.Frank Field and Rachel Reeves, chairs of the two MPs’ committees, said in their letter of 22 May that they had “multiple serious concerns about the performance of the FRC”.The MPs also argued that the FRC needed a “significant shift in culture” to perform as the public expected.Critics of the FRC have argued that it is too close to the audit firms that it supervises, and that it has failed to pursue them with sufficient vigour since the financial crisis.The FRC has also been criticised for taking too long to wrap up investigations into allegations of audit shortcomings following corporate collapses.Sir John Kingman has already started the process of taking evidence for his probe, having contacted stakeholders privately. Sources familiar with the process, who spoke to IPE on condition of anonymity, said Sir John was fully aware that his options included scrapping the FRC.Political pressure building on FRCSeparately, the FRC has also come under scrutiny in the UK parliament’s upper house, where Liberal Democrat peer Sharon Bowles has tabled a total of 65 questions for ministers to answer related to the FRC and the country’s audit regime.The questions addressed topics such as the collapse of Carillion, company law and the FRC’s procurement policies.In addition to the FRC’s existing woes, the opposition Labour party’s John McDonnell has ordered a review of his own into the entire auditing and accounting regime in the UK.The review will be led by Prem Sikka, professor of accounting and finance at the University of Sheffield.In a speech to the Labour party’s “State of the Economy” conference in London last month, McDonnell said the Carillion collapse showed that “the accounting and the pensions regulators have once more failed to do their jobs.”Sikka’s review is intended to develop principles for good regulation, streamline the regulatory system, promote efficiency and timely action by regulators, and make them more accountable to the public.Sikka told IPE: “This is a people’s review and we would love to hear form anyone who wants to have an input.” Members of the UK parliament questioned whether the leadership of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the country’s accounting watchdog, is fit for purpose.Politicians have urged Sir John Kingman, chairman of a review into the future of the FRC, to confirm that his inquiry will examine the regulator’s leadership and culture.In an an open letter, the joint chairs of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee invited Sir John to “consider whether the leadership of the FRC is equipped to effect the necessary change.”An FRC spokesperson declined to comment on the contents of the letter but referred instead to the watchdog’s April statement welcoming the Kingman review.last_img read more

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Dougherty: Clemson game gives Long chance to start solidifying spot

first_imgAJ Long has packed a lot of firsts into a two-week stretch and his next one could be the most important of them all.His first college appearance yielded his first touchdown pass in a loss to then-No. 1 Florida State on Oct. 11. His first start brought his first touchdown run and collegiate win in Syracuse’s 30-7 blowout of Wake Forest last weekend. Each injects a little more life into a team clawing out of early-season irrelevancy. And now Long has a chance to transform the guarded optimism that accompanies a true freshman into a more solidified spot.SU (3-4, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) travels to No. 21 Clemson (5-2, 4-1) on Saturday, which will be Long’s first real test as a starter and first opportunity to make a marquee victory his own.  A win against the Tigers looks a bit more attainable after their narrow 17-13 win over Boston College last week, and would push Long from Syracuse’s freshman quarterback to Syracuse’s quarterback. “It’s a dream that I’ve accomplished,” Long said before the Wake Forest game. “At the same time, I know it’s not my team. I wouldn’t be in this situation had Terrel (Hunt) not got hurt. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“So now it’s play as well as you possibly can and, hopefully, when this is over, it’s a competition and it’s not just you sit back on the end of the bench.”Long’s unflappable confidence as a quarterback makes him an enigmatic mix of mature and immature.In the Orange’s 18-point loss to the Seminoles two weeks ago, Long threw two touchdown passes to fellow freshman Steve Ishmael. The first ended a touchdown drought of more than 100 minutes for the Syracuse offense and together, the two scores were the most any Orange quarterback had thrown for in a single game all year.He also threw two interceptions in the game, then stood in front of reporters and proclaimed that “Syracuse football is back” and that the Orange would go to an ACC championship in the next four years.“Why should we ever take it as a negative if he’s doing what he’s supposed to and he knows what he’s supposed to do?” said Ace Long, AJ’s father, of his son’s confidence.It’s derived from an underdog mentality, which has Long turning his 6-foot frame into a strength and anyone doubting that into a positive influence. It surfaces in the way he escapes broken pockets to throw into tight spaces and when he smiles at doubts about his stature or play. When he was a 5-foot-3 seventh-grader, he didn’t know if Division I football was a feasible goal. But his friends and teammates called him “the Joker” because he let out a high-pitched cackle whenever he made a good play.As he grew into his frame in high school, there were more chances to laugh and more reasons to believe he’d end up leading a big-conference offense.After choosing SU he started rallying together the Class of 2014 — one of the program’s best in recent years — and said he was “gunning to be the starter” when he arrived on campus last January. That didn’t sit well with Hunt, the incumbent starter. But as Hunt sits with a broken fibula, Long’s opportunity grows every week. “Right now, he’s our quarterback. He was really sharp with where he was going with the ball,” offensive coordinator Tim Lester said after the Wake Forest win. “It’s only the second game, but we’re in a situation where if he’s the guy that’s out there, I expect him to play to our level.”The fact that Long’s a stopgap replacement will hang over him until he proves to be more. The win at Wake Forest didn’t push him any closer or further away from doing so, but performing against Vic Beasley and Clemson’s heralded defensive front could have a lasting effect.If any SU quarterback is going to march into Death Valley and give the Orange a chance to win, it’s the one with 38 career completions and no reason to believe he’ll fail.“I really hope that after this season that I’ll be able to push in a competition with Hunt,” Long said. ” … Everywhere you go, your job is to be the guy. There’s nowhere that you want to go and sit behind somebody, so that’s all I’m trying to do.”He can’t put himself in that position with one or two games, but a big game in Death Valley could go a long way. Comments Published on October 22, 2014 at 12:26 am Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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