The financial crisis has highlighted the susceptibility of modern financial markets to severe systemic risk and thus underlined the critical importance of central banks in shaping and sustaining the health and viability of the financial system. Underlying challenges facing central banks include the continuing developments in regulation, financial reporting and stakeholder scrutiny.
Through our global network, PwC is helping central banks and regulators to tackle the challenges of today’s increasingly complex and diffuse marketplace. This includes providing audit, accounting and advisory services, underpinned by research, market analysis and engagement with central banks, regulators and their stakeholders. With your help, we have developed a unique client service culture and technical deliverables, which clearly differentiates us from our competitors.
Our client deliverables are managed through our local office network around the world, coordinated via our Central Bank Advisory Group, (“CBAG”), a unique specialist team based in London, which develops and delivers a wide range of support activities specifically aimed at ensuring our global network of client service teams are at the forefront of thought leadership and technical advances in their work with central banks. Our teams communicate through a specially created PwC intranet, with product methodology, a technical discussion forum, and a quarterly Newsletter. The CBAG team regularly contribute to publications and speak at conferences.
We have in recent years served as the central bank auditor in 8 of the 10 leading industrial countries¹ with the US Federal Reserve, Bundesbank, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Russia and the Bank of England as our clients. We recently completed 5 years as the inaugural auditor of the European Central Bank and our recent audit portfolio includes the central banks of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Turkey, as well as the Bank for International Settlements – the banker to the central banks. Emerging market central banks are as important to us, with clients extending through Central Europe, former Soviet states, into China, Asia and Africa. Our signature is on the audit opinions and Audit Committee reports of more central banks than any other of our competitors.
Our Central Bank Advisory Group supports this global client network through audit proposal support, a specific central bank audit methodology, technical IFRS solutions for financial reporting, and a methodology of risk and quality which ensures our local teams deliver the high quality service our clients expect from PwC.
We coordinate our Regulatory Advisory services through regional groups across the globe, able to respond to the specific demands of each territory and to support our offices. We meet regularly with regulators to discuss topical issues. We are working closely with many regulators concerning Basel II and IFRS, and we have completed an extensive consultation, funded by the European Commission, to study the impact of Basel II on the financial services industry and the economy of the EU. We have advised several financial regulators on a number of key areas, in particular on the impact of IFRS on central banks and on the financial services industry they regulate. We are spearheading an initiative in the Middle East to advise regulators on the implications of corporate governance for the financial services industry, and the importance and relevance of these developments for central banks themselves.
Central banks come to us to discuss corporate governance-related issues, in particular associated with committee structures (including Audit Committee); risk management and internal controls; establishment and measurement of effective Internal Audit Departments; and corporate governance standards for the banking industry. Through CBAG, we ensure that the latest developments in these specialist fields are made available to support local teams in their projects.
Our professionals contribute to advancing thought leadership, with PwC representatives chairing meetings at financial regulators, IMF, World Bank, ECB and other leading institutions. Since 2004, we have sponsored the annual meeting of the Central Bank Financial Reporting Working Group; an independent group representing central banks, international institutions and accounting professionals which meet to examine topical issues in central bank financial reporting. Notes on these discussions from the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 meetings are available by clicking here.
PwC’s commitment to ensuring central banks achieve the best practices in financial reporting is further underlined by our contribution to the joint Central Banking Publications / PwC publication Accounting Standards for central banks described by one G10 central bank head of finance as the “bible” in this field. PwC has also contributed to the Central Banking Publication entitled 'New Horizons in Central Bank Risk Management' (PDF, 106kb) which addresses the challenges facing central bankers in the field of risk management, and we regularly speak at central bank training seminars.
¹G8/G10 countries where the central bank appoints external auditors