• Register
Return to: Home > News > Tweedie is back in business warning about ‘the valuation gap’ in financial services

Tweedie is back in business warning about ‘the valuation gap’ in financial services

Tweedie: "In financial instruments there are almost no controls. And it’s difficult for regulators and for auditors. There’s no benchmark, no standard."

The lack of a single set of global standards to value financial instruments could make Basel capital requirements useless, disguise the real value of complex financial products and eventually reignite another financial crisis, Sir David Tweedie tells Carlos Martin Tornero


On 5 June 2008 the BBC Radio 4 programme In Business led with a show devoted to the role of accounting in the financial crisis. Veteran journalist Peter Day kicked off with a dramatic and striking intro: "People are pointing their fingers at Sir David Tweedie; there's a bit of a whispering campaign. As banks stare into the credit crunch abyss, the whispers say, he may have made it worse."

Day continued with a crescendo: "Sir David is getting some of the blame. Sir David Tweedie is an accountant, perhaps the most powerful accountant in the world, and this programme is all about accounting, and what he's doing to it, because Sir David is Mr or Sir, bottom line."

In Rome at the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) Tweedie, now chairman of the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), participated in one of the sessions which looked at the crossroads between the worlds of accounting and valuation, a potential spin-off profession branching out from the accountancy tree.

During that session Tweedie referred to that BBC interview and shared with the audience his recollection of events: "Yes, you are right. That's me. I made the banks give up the risk measurement. I made them give mortgages to people with no assets and no income."

He continued with his confession: "I made them take those mortgages and break them to tiny bits, add them to thousands of tiny bits from others and scatter them worldwide. I made credit rating agencies give banks AAA ratings. I made people buy them without due diligence, without a clue of what was inside them...It's my entire fault."

As he recalled there was a silence, after which the BBC presenter asked: "You're being ironic here?" Indeed, Tweedie was being as ironic and hyperbolic back then, as he was during some of his interventions at the WCOA.

In conversation with The Accountant at the WCOA, he acknowledges: "Looking back, as chairman of the IASB, I probably naively assumed that there were people out there, a sort of profession that did those valuations, all getting the same results. I remember saying, 'well, the valuation professional would deal with this'. Then I just realised that there wasn't one and the IASB and FASB had to deal with it."

Read the full conversation here: Tweedie and the valuation void: is another financial crisis looming?

Top Content

    Addressing tax challenges and the digitisation of the economy

    As the economy becomes even more globalised through digital sources, the tax systems currently in place need to be scrutinised to examine whether they are still fit for current and emerging business models. Joe Pickard reports on the OECD’s approach to this issue.

    read more

    Primary financial statements: a game changer in reporting?

    International Accounting Standards Board chair Hans Hoogervorst delivered a speech at the Seminario International sobre NIIF y NIF, organised by the Consejo Mexicano de Normas de Información Financiera in Mexico. The Accountant presents the highlights.

    read more

    FASB readies standards for the netflix generation

    The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has updated its accounting standard for entertainment, with a specific eye on keeping up to date with how episodic content, such as television programmes, is consumed in the modern world. Jonathan Minter reports.

    read more

    Brexit: why it takes two to tango

    Former TA editor Vincent Huck, now editor of Insurance Asset Risk, looks at why Brexit might unleash geopolitical intrigue in Europe’s accounting standard-setting scene – and why IFRS 17 will be an incredible source of opportunity for firms in the coming years.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.