Brexit is driving the work of the UK’s corporate governance watchdog to maintain the country’s reputation for quality across accounting, audit and governance, according to the chairman of the Financial Reporting Council.
Sir Win Bischoff was speaking at a conference on Brexit and financial services in London when he made his remarks in which he acknowledged the role of the referendum result and the prime minister’s societal aims in the future of governance.
But Sir Win focused the FRC’s work on the regulatory reputation of the UK.
“As the UK moves towards Brexit we are discussing with our stakeholders – those we regulate and those who benefit from our activities, including broader society and of course the government – the key issues that we believe will need to be tackled in order to retain this reputation,” Sir Win said.
He said the FRC is already discussing how governance principles may need to be amended to
recognise the interests of a wider group of stakeholders and noted that international accounting standards that are currently imposed on the UK via the EU will need to be enforced. “Investors have told us they want comparability between the accounts of UK listed companies and those listed in other countries,” said Sir Win.
However, Sir Win also acknowledged the difficulties faced by financial services after after the prime minister, Theresa May, said there would be no “running commentary” on Brexit negotiations.
Sir Win said this would produce a “knowledge vacuum” for market players but also meant the regulator would need to take care itself.
“As regulators we mustn’t be complacent but tread carefully. No knee-jerk decisions! We will carefully consider what is best for the sectors and professionals we regulate and right for the long- term health of the stakeholders we serve,” he said.