Fighting fit for fair value fray
Jennifer Hughes – 1 October 2008 – London Ed1 – 22
Sir David Tweedie has been dubbed the “accounting ayatollah” by the French for his determined support of fair value rules. He has also framed a newspaper article calling him the “most hated accountant in Britain”.
Amid the current market crisis, the 64-year-old chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board faces increasing pressure to suspend the rules, which require companies to mark their financial assets at market prices. The 14-member board is holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss issues around the credit crunch tomorrow.
The Edinburgh University graduate began his career in academia lecturing on accounting but joined KPMG in 1982. As head of the firm’s technical team, he witnessed what he calls the “creeping crumple” of pressure on auditors to sign off complex financial products pushed by bankers.
He gained notoriety by fighting back as head of the UK Accounting Standards Board in the 1990s, also pushing for pensions accounting rules that disclosed yawning deficits in many schemes.
Sir David moved to lead London-based IASB in 2001 and has had to tone down his naturally straight-talking, argumentative side to get consensus among his board. But the grandfather of two seems ready for the impending battle over fair value rules.