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Regulatory point-scoring

Sir David Tweedie

A greater move towards international accounting standards is certain to result from the Enron furore. But already there are signs of regulatory one-upmanship. And bankers worry that the debate on the rights and wrongs of the Enron affair is quickly giving way to a turf battles and point-scoring between regulators and accounting bodies.

Best placed to benefit from a widespread move to internationally accepted principles would be the London-headquartered International Accounting Standards Board (IASB).

The IASB's chairman, Sir David Tweedie, was in Washington in mid-February - along with former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, who is chairman of the IASB's board of trustees - to testify before the Senate committee on banking, housing and urban affairs.

Though taking care to point out that many international financial reporting standards are similar to US GAAP, Tweedie pointed out that the environment in which standards are set in the US is profoundly different, mainly because of the more litigious culture there.

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