Posts

Deloitte UK announces audit governance changes

Deloitte UK today announces changes to its audit governance structure, with the establishment of an independent Audit Governance Board (AGB)*. Margaret, Baroness Ford of Cunninghame OBE, will be appointed as independent non-executive chair of the AGB when it is established, which will have a majority of independent non-executive directors, including Jim Coyle, Almira Delibegovic-Broome QC and Shirley Garrood, in addition to Baroness Ford.

Effective from 1 January 2021, the AGB will have responsibility for providing independent oversight of the UK audit practice, with a focus on the policies and procedures for improving audit quality and ensuring the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) objectives of, and desired outcomes for, operational separation are met.

The creation of the AGB is the initial phase of Deloitte UK’s implementation of the principles for operational separation set out by the FRC in July 2020.

Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte UK, said: “We recognise the need to be more transparent about our audit business and demonstrate that audit quality remains our number one priority. Our governance changes are an important part of this, and we welcome the diverse and extensive experience and independent rigour these high calibre individuals will bring to the AGB and our audit business.

“The AGB is central to Deloitte UK’s new governance framework and a key step in the operational separation of our audit business from our wider firm. We continue liaising with the FRC on the best ways to implement further changes to our governance and reporting structures.”

Baroness Ford, incoming chair of Deloitte UK’s AGB, commented: “I am delighted to be joining Deloitte UK, one of the UK’s leading professional services firms, at what is a crucial time for the sector. It is clear that Deloitte UK recognises, and takes very seriously, its obligations around transparency, strong governance and the public interest, and I look forward to bringing my experience and insight to the firm.”

Stephen Griggs, current Deputy CEO and managing partner for audit & assurance and public policy at Deloitte UK, said: “We’ve been consistent in our support for audit reform, and remain committed to playing our role in delivering change that embraces audit quality, improves choice and restores trust.

“However, while governance changes to audit businesses are a key element of audit reform, they must also be considered alongside a wider package of change, including in areas such as corporate reporting, the role of directors, the evolution of the audit product and the regulatory environment in which we operate. Sweeping reform is needed if we are to better meet society’s needs and expectations of the audit profession in the years ahead.”

Alongside the establishment of the AGB and the independent non-executive appointments, Deloitte UK has also announced that Stephen Griggs will become managing partner for Deloitte UK.

Richard Houston added: “I am delighted to announce Stephen in this role, where he will be responsible for business performance, operations and public policy for Deloitte UK. We will work closely together as I remain the UK chief executive – with Stephen leading on all operational matters which, importantly, will include overseeing operational separation as part of audit market reforms. A successor for Stephen’s role as managing partner for audit & assurance will be in place by 1 October 2020.”

Finally, Deloitte UK will also establish a new Colleague Advisory Forum, in line with the Corporate Governance Code, to support engagement on governance. Made up of colleagues from a range of grades and parts of Deloitte UK, it will provide a more diverse perspective to the AGB and the firm’s UK Oversight Board (UKOB)*, to help inform decision-making.

Deloitte publishes its Black Action Plan

Deloitte UK has published its Black Action Plan. The plan, launched today via a firmwide webinar to 20,000 of Deloitte’s people hosted by Richard Houston, UK CEO, and Dimple Agarwal, deputy CEO and managing partner for people and purpose, is based on five key commitments that align to the firm’s global shared values of inclusion and taking care of each other.

Deloitte has responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by hosting a series of listening sessions for its people across all parts of the firm. These sessions included hearing from and understanding the experiences of Black colleagues. A firmwide working group was formed to work closely with the leadership and develop the actions.

Dimple Agarwal, deputy CEO and managing partner for people and purpose at Deloitte, said: “Over the last month we have listened, learned and started an important journey with people across the firm and with our Black colleagues. The stories, feedback and comments have brought home the difficult truth that bias and racism are widespread in our society.

“While we’ve made progress on our wider inclusion agenda over recent years, it is absolutely clear that we need to do more. Today we are going beyond listening and we are committed to the lessons we have learnt. This is a considered plan that will deliver concrete actions.”

The Black Action Plan is based on five key commitments. Each action comes with meaningful and measurable objectives that ensures Deloitte will:

  • Provide equal opportunities: Deloitte will review every step of the employee lifecycle – from how it attracts and recruits talent, through to promotion and pay processes to ensure Black and Ethnic Minority colleagues are treated fairly.
  • Focus on developing people to succeed and thrive: Deloitte will design and deliver development programmes that support its Black and Ethnic Minority colleagues to thrive and become leaders of the future.
  • Drive and evolve culture and behaviours: Recognising that achieving real and meaningful change requires everyone to think and act differently, Deloitte will implement cultural change that starts with education and understanding. This will include rolling out a mandatory training programme on ethnicity and race, and launching a Black Allies programme within the firm.
  • Influence change: Deloitte will continue to use its network to help bring about social change – working with clients, industry peers, charity partners and suppliers. This will include developing a relationship with a new Black charity partner and expanding the portfolio of Black-owned social enterprises it works with.
  • Measure and report on targets and outcomes: Deloitte is committing to 12% of Ethnic Minority and 3% of Black partners by 2025. The firm will also commit to targets across other grades to create the future pipeline. Leaders will be held accountable for these targets.

“The impact of all of these actions together will be bigger than the sum of their parts – such as race training for all of our people focusing on micro-aggressions and conscious inclusion,” added Agarwal. “Not only will it add up to a fairer and more positive overall experience for our people but for the communities in which we work.”

Deloitte’s Multicultural Network was created 14 years ago along with 10 other diversity networks. The network supports the firm’s focus on ensuring that it provides an inclusive culture that is underpinned by respect.

Nadine Dyer, co-chair of the Multicultural Network at Deloitte, said: “This action plan is an important step in the right direction. We have listened and talked, discussed and planned and now it’s time for meaningful action. All of our people across the firm will have the responsibility of taking this plan forward and bringing it to life.”

Agarwal concluded: “I want to personally thank my colleagues who have shared their stories so courageously and provided honest feedback to me. I have been humbled, saddened and shocked by what I’ve heard. We are deeply committed to this action plan and the wider commitment by the firm that we can, and will, make a change.”

BL new PHOTO

Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP recognised by Best Lawyers®

Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) LLP, one of the world’s largest immigration law firms, has been named “Immigration Law Firm of the Year” by US News – Best Lawyers®. Only one law firm per legal practice area receives this recognition, making the award a significant achievement. BAL has also received a First Tier ranking in Houston, San Francisco and Washington, DC by Best Lawyers®.

The award caps a tremendous milestone year for the firm:

  • Opening of a 60-person office in mid-town Manhattan.
  • Establishing an unprecedented strategic alliance with Deloitte UK that combines the best of Deloitte’s scale, expertise and breadth outside of the US with BAL’s unparalleled legal expertise and high quality immigration services in the US.
  • Launching a large-scale Center of Excellence in Richardson, Texas to support over 600 cross-functional professionals including attorneys, legal and operational staff, as well as expansions of offices in Boston, Houston, McLean, Va. and Walnut Creek, Ca.
  • Unveiling of the industry’s first mobile immigration app, enabling anytime, anywhere case management across Android and iOS devices. The app is a component of Cobalt® the firm’s innovative digital immigration platform.

Commenting on the award, Managing Partner Jeremy Fudge stated, “This has been another extraordinary year for BAL. We have been quietly leading the industry for several years now and are honoured to receive the US News – Best Lawyers® ”Law Firm of the Year’ in immigration.”

About Best Lawyers®

Best Lawyers® “Law Firm of the Year” awards are country and practice area specific. They are determined based on a handful of factors, including: feedback from lawyers recognized by Best Lawyers® on individual lawyer and firm-wide work, the size and coverage of the firm in a specific practice area, historical analysis of the firm’s “Lawyer of the Year” awards in this area, and research surrounding the firm’s overall scope and areas of expertise.

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

BAL is singularly focused on meeting the immigration challenges of corporate clients around the world in ways that make immigration more strategic and enable clients to be more successful. Established in 1980, the firm provides immigration expertise, top-notch information security and leading technology innovation like its Cobalt® digital immigration services platform. In 2018, the firm formed a strategic alliance with Deloitte UK to create the world’s first global immigration service delivery model. BAL and its leaders are highly ranked in every major legal publication, including Best Lawyers, Chambers, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal. For more information about Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP, please visit: http://www.balglobal.com/