Eddy Wymeersch

Third high level FEE conference on key issues in audit regulation in the EU

WP 2008-15

2007 and even more 2008 have been crucial years in the financial markets. The events of this period are likely to have a profound repercussion on the development of the system of financial regulation and the many other fields that are directly linked to the financial markets. The systemic nature of the risks that have now appeared call for strong action on the part of all players. And, the auditors although they have been well taken care of in the Sarbanes Oxley Act, are likely to be affected in certain respects as well. Differently from the previous crisis of 2001-2002 and due to Enron and other similar cases, the audit profession has this time not been the prime target of public criticism. That privilege is now reserved to the Credit Ratings Agencies, who can expect a serious dose of regulation and oversight. The audit profession has been confronted with the same reaction after the Enron debacle that lead directly to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other comparable initiatives in several parts of the world. The fall-out from Sarbanes Oxley is increasingly visible in Europe as well. In the globalised world of today, incidents happening in one corner, immediately affect the rest of the economies, and regulation also travels globally, albeit at a lower speed. That is the reason why we should follow these trends with vigilant interest.