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US mid-term review: 39 million unemployed and near 100,000 dead…

26 May 2020
Knowledge Base

by Michel Klompmaker

Last week, the number of registered unemployed (those claiming benefits) in the USA rose to 39 million. The chairman of the FED expects a further increase in the coming month. Meanwhile, last Sunday, May 24, 2020, the New York Times opens with a more than serious report covering the entire front page. Certainly not fake news. The 6 column heading reads “US DEATHS NEAR 100,000, AN INCALCULABLE LOSS”. The full front page is filled with about a thousand names with short descriptions of deaths from Covid-19 based on obituaries. Only 1 percent of the total. And in the meantime, the president of this country, as a kind of “monkey on the rock”, quietly continues to deal unfairly with mainly female journalists from serious media.. We repeat it again, political risks will be one of the biggest risk factors in the coming years. Continue reading…

IAIS facilitates global coordination on financial stability and policyholder protection during Covid-19 crisis

22 May 2020
Knowledge Base

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a global public health emergency with severe human and economic consequences. Insurance is an essential service at this time of distress, providing protection against the heightened uncertainties created by the pandemic. For insurers to play this role, and to contribute to economic recovery, the stability of the sector is vital. To this end, the IAIS has been closely monitoring developments and actively coordinating with other standard-setting bodies and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the global insurance sector. The IAIS is also committed to supporting the FSB’s recently published principles for ensuring international cooperation and coordination of responses to Covid-19. Moreover, the IAIS is facilitating the sharing of information and discussion among its broad membership on supervisory responses to the impact of Covid-19. Continue reading…

The European Ombudsman criticizes the European Banking Authority over Adam Farkas’s move to becoming head of a top lobby for the financial sector

18 May 2020
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The European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, made a statement on May 11 that the European Banking Authority (EBA) should have disallowed Adam Farkas, its previous Executive Director, from assuming the position of CEO of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), which is one of the main lobbyist groups of the financial sector. An investigation into this matter was subsequently launched after receiving complaints made by several MEPs and the Change Finance coalition. The European Ombudsman is an independent authority that examines complaints made against the EU. As such, Emily O’Reilly has found that the EBA should have rejected Adam Farkas’s move from the EBA to the AFME. Continue reading…

Mitigating risks and increasing resilience towards infectious diseases

15 May 2020
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Past events in history have shown that another pandemic may come about some time in the near future. However, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risks as stated by a newspaper by the Institute of Economic Affairs. As the human population continues to increase, so too will viruses and diseases. Today, there are quite a few outbreaks that have remained and settled permanently among humans, though they have not quite reached the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, when comparing Covid-19 to other major viruses and diseases that have spread, it is relatively moderate. Adding on to a growing population, economic integration, long supply chains, traveling and a change in how health care systems are operated and structured have all made the impact of an infectious disease significantly greater compared to 50-60 years ago. Continue reading…

Fraud as one of the largest audit risks, or the largest problem you don’t want to miss out during audit engagement

13 May 2020
Knowledge Base

by Alex Movchan & Magdalena Wolska

“People show you who they are,
not by what they say, but by what they do.”
Jane Green, British journalist and writer

Probably, every internal auditor, at least once, had a feeling after the end of the audit engagement, that maybe there was something unnoticed, undiscovered, left “behind the curtains”. You start thinking about it, but nothing concrete really comes up on your mind – the interviews were held, reviews performed, testing completed. It looks like everything was examined properly, but the fear of missing something important just does not come out of the mind. Suddenly a thought comes up out of the blue: “And what, if there was a fraud out there?” Right, missing a fraud is the worst nightmare for an internal auditor. Although the Standards don’t put full responsibility of fraud detection on the internal auditors, but as is written in the Standard 1210.A2: “Internal auditors must have sufficient knowledge to evaluate the risk of fraud and the manner in which it is managed by the organization”. What is the trickiest about fraud is that it is like an iceberg – seems to be just a small detail from the first sight, but 95% of an iceberg is hidden beneath the water. And the damage it can cause might be truly unpredictable. If you have any doubts about that, just think about Titanic – the largest ship afloat with 2500 passengers on board, 1 500 of them died, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. And this tragedy happened because the crew did not manage to identify the iceberg in time. 
Continue reading…

Alkistis Gkiosi: “It is important that the internal auditors realise the principles of an agile approach”

07 May 2020
Knowledge Base

by Alex Movchan

We recently spoke to a special woman, Alkistis Gkiosi, BAcc, ACCA, CIA, CFE, who is known as a Compliance Expert and Internal Controls and Regulatory Affairs Professional. She has gained a lot of international experience, thanks to the various positions she fulfilled initially in the field of external audit and later in internal audit. From internal audit, Alkistis ended up in Cyprus where she is in charge of the compliance department of an international financial services company. Continue reading…

ECB decisions on the Public Sector Purchase Programme exceed EU competences

05 May 2020
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In its judgment pronounced today, the Second Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court granted several constitutional complaints directed against the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) of the European Central Bank (ECB). The Court found that the Federal Government and the German Bundestag violated the complainants’ rights under Art. 38(1) first sentence in conjunction with Art. 20(1) and (2), and Art. 79(3) of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG) by failing to take steps challenging that the ECB, in its decisions on the adoption and implementation of the PSPP, neither assessed nor substantiated that the measures provided for in these decisions satisfy the principle of proportionality. In its Judgment of 11 December 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has taken a different stance in response to the request for a preliminary ruling from the Federal Constitutional Court; however, this does not merit a different conclusion in the present proceedings. The review undertaken by the CJEU with regard to whether the ECB’s decisions on the PSPP satisfy the principle of proportionality is not comprehensible; to this extent, the judgment was thus rendered ultra vires. As regards the complainants’ challenge that the PSPP effectively circumvents Art. 123 TFEU, the Federal Constitutional Court did not find a violation of the prohibition of monetary financing of Member State budgets. The decision published today does not concern any financial assistance measures taken by the European Union or the ECB in the context of the current coronavirus crisis.  Continue reading…

Geert Vermeulen : “What about the story that the US government had purchased respiratory equipment from an entity owned by Rostec, a sanctioned entity ?”

04 May 2020
Knowledge Base

The Dutch Compliance Officers Association, abbreviated VCO, asked Geert Vermeulen to answer a number of questions about the COVID-19 crisis. Geert Vermeulen is a well-known Compliance Officer in the Netherlands, he also gives lectures and he teaches. Last year, he was the winner of the National Compliance Award 2019 (see photo). This prize is awarded annually with the aim of stimulating developments in the field of compliance, professionalising the compliance function and improving integrity within organisations. Geert was asked only three questions, but he answered them very thoroughly and extensively.  Continue reading…

Compliance Agenda after Corona Lockdown

30 April 2020
Knowledge Base

by Muel Kaptein

Since the corona crisis, the agenda of compliance officers has changed considerably. But what will the agenda of compliance officers look like when the (semi) lockdown is phased out and organizations start working on their recovery? The recovery phase brings all kinds of new issues and work with it for the compliance function. Below I briefly describe eleven new items for the compliance agenda after the lockdown. Are there items that you think are not addressed in this list or ones that you see differently? In random order, I see the following eleven new items for the compliance agenda.
Continue reading…

The urge to act is strong. But normative integrity should be strong too

29 April 2020
Knowledge Base

by Lieve Lowet

This is the last part of the series of three articles about my in-depth investigation of the aforementioned measures as a result of the corona crisis. All the above actions, mentioned in the two previous articles, we although, prima facie and probably well intended, carry nevertheless a very heavy price. I will focus on the insurance sector by naming five topics.
Continue reading…