PricewaterhouseCoopers Building Public Trust Awards “Excellence in Reporting”

05 October 2009

 

WPP plc and Great Portland Estates plc won the overall categories for the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250, respectively, in the 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Building Public Trust Awards "Excellence in Reporting" in their communications with key stakeholders. In addition, The Crown Estate was recognised in the public sector category and Sir John Parker, won the Lifetime Achievement award for his consistent and unwavering commitment to transparent and open reporting.

The awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate the commitment by the UK's leading businesses and public sector organisations to build transparency and trust into their reporting.

In his key note speech at the ceremony and dinner on Wednesday 30 September which was attended by more than 300 business leaders, senior civil servants, regulators, standard setters and professional bodies, Ian Powell, chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP suggested that too little attention was being paid to the role of transparency in good business governance and also in the dynamics between business and society. Two key areas that required focus were the role of personal responsibility and the continuing need to deal with systemic risk and the human behaviours behind them.

The causes as well as the effects of this crisis still run deep. They go far beyond the financial services sector and impact wider business communities. While the amount of attention and political capital that has been expended on remuneration over the past year far outweighs the contribution incentives made to the last global financial crisis and to the potential part that they could play in the next. But it would be short-sighted not to recognise there has been a shift in the level of scrutiny of the whole remuneration structure within a business. And in particular around the understanding of how these policies impact behaviours and risk taking.

Ian Powell UK Chairman and Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

The real challenge for business and the regulatory authorities is systemic risk. There are some signs for cautious optimism as positive steps are being taken at the global level to improve the regulatory framework led by the new impetus given by the leaders of the G20 countries. The creation of a new Financial Stability Committee made up of the FSA, the Bank of England and The Treasury should be a significant improvement to the current regime. However, while progress is being made, there remain many challenges to make this new framework operate effectively.

If this framework is to operate effectively, it will be necessary to ensure that the proposed UK Financial Stability Council has real authority over its constituent bodies and we need to work out how the various international and national authorities will interact and cooperate with each other. While most of us might agree that systemic risks demand global mechanisms to monitor and control them, we are, I am afraid, still operating in a world being driven by domestic issues and domestic politics.

Ian Powell UK Chairman and Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Finally, the behavioural aspects of human nature which helped to create and drive the boom are vital here. To date we have done little to understand and address the human behaviours, and in particular the lack of personal responsibility, that has been at the root of most corporate and market failures. Responsibility needs to start at the top of companies because people, not organisations choose how they behave and whether they account openly and transparently for their actions.

Over the last 12 months many financial institutions have raised their reporting game and increasingly there is a greater focus on personal responsibility, culture and values. I hope this focus will continue and lead to great confidence and trust in both the public and private sector.

Contacts

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers

    Derek. Nash

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    T: 44 (0)20 7804 3058

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