FCA appoints executive directors to co-lead Enforcement and Market Oversight 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has appointed Therese Chambers and Steve Smart as joint Executive Directors of Enforcement and Market Oversight. 

The expansion of the FCA’s enforcement and market oversight leadership team, following Mark Steward’s departure, reflects the vital role that enforcement work plays in delivering its 3 year strategy and its commitments to reducing the growth in financial crime, ensuring consumer outcomes meet the higher standards of the New Consumer Duty, stepping in where firms restrict competition and much more. Recent market events have underlined the importance of effective market oversight to support financial stability. 

FCA chief executive, Nikhil Rathi, said: “Enforcement is a key regulatory tool allowing us to hold firms and individuals to account for wrongdoing and helping to reduce and prevent serious harm to consumers and in markets.  We are committed to acting faster and more effectively, putting the power of technology, data and intelligence at the heart of our enforcement operations. Therese and Steve will be a powerful combination, bringing a complementary skillset, which will enable us to do just that.  I thank Mark again for his remarkable seven years of service.” 

The new appointments mean the FCA’s executive committee will have 9 members, comprising 5 women and 4 men, including 3 from minority ethnic backgrounds. 

Everbridge behind UK Govt’s launch of Public Alerting System 

The UK Government’s public emergency alert system is being powered by Public Warning Cell Broadcast technology developed by Everbridge, a critical event management firm. 

This deployment, the sixth for Everbridge in European countries, was successfully tested on the mobile networks of EE, O2 and Three and will be nationally tested on April 23rd. 

This is the UK Government’s first-ever nationwide emergency alerting system which allows people to be reached quicky during national emergencies such as public health crises, terror attacks, industrial incidents, earthquakes and flooding. 

Powered by Everbridge’s industry-leading Public Warning technology, the UK Emergency Alert system will target mobile phones of residents and visitors present in the area impacted by an emergency. Everbridge contracts with mobile network operators EE – part of BT Group, O2 and and Three, which represent the majority of UK mobile subscribers, and a population of over 65 million residents and 35 million annual visitors. 

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Oliver Dowden, said yesterday: “We are strengthening our national resilience with a new emergency alerts system, to deal with a wide range of threats – from flooding to wildfires. It will revolutionise our ability to warn and inform people who are in immediate danger and help us keep people safe. As we’ve seen in the U.S. and elsewhere, the buzz of a phone can save a life.” 

IASB proposes amendments to classification and measurement requirements 

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published an exposure draft proposing amendments to the classification and measurement requirements in IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. 

The proposed amendments respond to feedback received from a post-implementation review of the classification and measurement requirements in IFRS 9, which concluded in December 2022. Feedback from that review indicated that most stakeholders believed those requirements achieved their intended purpose, whilst identifying specific areas for further enhancement or clarification. The exposure draft published today responds to these points. 

IFRS 9 specifies how a company should classify and measure financial assets and financial liabilities. The Accounting Standard became effective in January 2018, introducing a new credit impairment model in light of the global financial crisis, and combining classification and measurement requirements, impairment and hedge accounting to replace and improve on IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. 

In 2021, the IASB began a post-implementation review of the Standard, beginning with an assessment of the classification and measurement requirements of IFRS 9. Reviews of further aspects of IFRS 9 will follow. 

In response to feedback received, the exposure draft’s proposed amendments include: 

  • Clarifying the classification of financial assets with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) and similar features – ESG-linked features in loans could affect whether the loans are measured at amortised cost or fair value, and stakeholders asked how to determine whether such loans have cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest. To resolve any potential diversity in practice, the proposed amendments clarify how the contractual cash flows on such loans should be assessed. They also look to ensure that investors are provided with useful information about the timing, amount and uncertainty of future cash flows. 

  • The settlement of liabilities through electronic payment systems – Stakeholders highlighted challenges about the potential outcomes of applying the derecognition requirements in IFRS 9 to the settlement of a financial asset or a financial liability via electronic cash transfers. The exposure draft proposes clarifications to how this should be accounted for. The IASB also decided to develop an accounting policy option to allow a company to derecognise a financial liability before it delivers cash on the settlement date when specified criteria are met. 

IASB Chair, Andreas Barckow, said: “The recent post-implementation review of the requirements relating to classification and measurement in IFRS 9 indicated the Standard is performing as intended, whilst also addressing some specific areas for enhancement. This exposure draft sets out our proposals in response to this feedback.” 

Blick Rothenberg offers a personal finance coach to all staff  

Tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg have offered every person in the firm their own 1-to-1 personal finance money coach

In partnership with Octopus MoneyCoach, every person, from trainees through to partners, at the 650 strong firm will be able to access this unique benefit. 

Blick Rothenberg CEO, Nimesh Shah, said: “Even for accountants, financial management and money can be a taboo subject. Very few quality conversations are had, and I wanted this to change as part of the firm’s commitment to the wellbeing of its staff. 

“Financial anxiety can be one of the main factors to a person’s mental health, and this is likely to be more heightened in recent times with the cost-of-living crisis. We want to establish a strong financial wellbeing culture and community within Blick Rothenberg so that we are collectively supporting each other.” 

Octopus MoneyCoach employer partnerships director, Neasa McNulty, said: “In professional services and financial services, there can be an additional level of pressure and guilt surrounding personal finance. Employees often say ‘I feel like I should know this, but…’ There’s not always a safe space to talk about your own financial goals and how to reach them.” 

Shah concluded: “I have seen that some company benefits, and perks suffer from low engagement, but this has been a huge success at Blick Rothenberg. People are talking about how it’s such an easy experience – which is important, because if these things are difficult, then you shy away from it. Your personal coach sends an e-mail, you choose a slot in their diary and then you’ve got a 1-to-1 meeting in less than a week or so. When we announced the new benefit, over 65% of employees had a first meeting with their coach. It’s really standing out for our new joiners to Blick Rothenberg. They’re surprised that we’re taking such a great interest in their own financial wellbeing as part of our wider wellbeing agenda.” 

ACCA seeks to introduce gender diversity initiative 

The ACCA is seeking to play a leading role in the introduction of a European initiative aimed at increasing gender diversity in company boards. 

Coming into effect in June 2026, the directive will set out to increase gender diversity on company boards, requiring the ‘under-represented sex’ (which could be male or female) make up 40% of non-executive directors or 33% of all major company directors. 

These quotas will apply for each company, and cover executive and non-executive positions on boards of all listed companies, other than those with less than 250 employees. 

Led by ACCA deputy president, Ronnie Patton, the panel will discuss implementation of the EU legislation, while also focusing on how women in senior positions can transition into board and non-executive director roles. 

Commenting on the event, Patton said: “The directive marks an important step towards equity for women. We do however need constant vigilance to ensure opportunity is extended to all people, whoever they are, wherever they are, regardless of class, race, nationality, or of course gender.” 

European Women on Boards chair, Hedwige Nuyens, commented: “These are important new requirements to make sure board members are recruited with sound and transparent selection processes, and the best candidate is chosen without any gender bias.” 

ICAEW, ISCA and CQICPA sign tripartite memorandum 

Amid economic globalisation, international cooperation has become an important driving force for industry development. To promote the region’s accountancy and finance industries as well as knowledge exchange and collaboration of the accountancy profession, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and the Chongqing Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CQICPA) have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU). 
This tripartite MoU aims to facilitate the development of the accountancy and finance industries in Singapore, China and the UK. The three institutes aim to deepen professional research and knowledge exchange, and promote the development of the accountancy industry from a global perspective. 
ISCA president, Teo Ser Luck said, “We’re delighted to deepen our relationships with CQICPA and ICAEW via this MoU. We look forward to exploring more opportunities for joint research, knowledge exchange and development of training programmes. The MoU is also in line with ISCA’s plan to expand our network beyond Singapore. We look forward to working closely with CQICPA and ICAEW to explore new opportunities for members of the three institutes, businesses and the accountancy community.” 
In his opening speech, ICAEW managing director, Mark Billington, welcomed each representative and expressed his gratitude to the three associations for their longstanding joint efforts and support. He added that the three parties will strengthen cooperation to jointly promote the development of the profession, instil trust in the accountancy profession, champion sustainability, lead their members to master technology and data and jointly promote the attractiveness of the accountancy profession. 
CQICPA secretary general, Zhang Qing, said that the signing ceremony marked a new starting point for cooperation among the three parties, and will bring forth fruitful cooperation. She proposed three major objectives: to strengthen exchanges and cooperation among the three associations to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results; to promote exchanges among members of three institutes; to enhance professional quality as well as to seize strategic opportunities to promote the development of the profession in the three regions.

FASB proposes improvements to the accounting for and disclosure of crypto assets 

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has published a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) intended to improve the accounting for and disclosure of certain crypto assets. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide input on the proposed ASU by 6 June, 2023. 

FASB chair, Richard R. Jones, stated: “During the FASB’s recent agenda consultation process, stakeholders from all professional backgrounds identified digital assets as a top priority area for the Board to address. 

“We responded to that feedback with the proposed ASU, which would provide investors greater transparency into the fair value of crypto assets held by entities, as well as additional disclosures about the types of crypto assets held and changes in those holdings.” 

The FASB heard feedback that the accounting for crypto assets as indefinite-lived intangible assets, which is a cost-less-impairment model, does not provide investors with decision-useful information or reflect the underlying economics of those assets. 

The amendments in this proposed ASU would improve the accounting for certain crypto assets by requiring an entity to measure those crypto assets at fair value each reporting period with changes in fair value recognized in net income. The proposed amendments also would improve the information provided to investors about an entity’s crypto asset holdings by requiring disclosure about significant holdings, restrictions, and changes in those holdings. 

The amendments in this proposed ASU would apply to all entities holding crypto assets that meet all the following criteria: 

  1. Meet the definition of intangible asset as defined in the FASB Accounting Standards Codification® Master Glossary 

  1. Do not provide the asset holder with enforceable rights to, or claims on, underlying goods, services, or other assets 

  1. Are created or reside on a distributed ledger based on blockchain technology 

  1. Are secured through cryptography 

  1. Are fungible 

  1. Are not created or issued by the reporting entity or its related parties.