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Discussion Board n°27, 29/04/22

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has prompted western businesses and/or high-profile brands either to exit the country, to stay or to suspend operations. In reaction, Russia is threatening to nationalise tangible and intangible assets of exiting western companies. Should corporations be encouraged (why and by whom) to take decisions on non-economic grounds (for instance moral)? Is today the moment to re-open the debate of the 1990s on “do corporations have consciousness”?

Decès de Anthony Travis

Tony Travis avait rejoint le Conseil de l’Observatoire de la Finance en 2003, alors qu’il était managing partner à PwC à Genève en charge de la révision des comptes des grandes institutions bancaires suisses. Il a également collaboré avec la Commission Volker sur les fonds en déshérence. Tony a apporté à l’Observatoire l’ouverture sur les questions éthiques dans les professions comptables, notamment celles de la révision et de l’audit. Il était éminemment préoccupé par la montée d’une pratique de la révision basée plus sur les règles que  sur les principes, notamment ceux de l’intégrité personnelle. Il en a fait part dans un chapitre publié dans l’ouvrage collectif „Enron and the Wolrd of Finance“ (*).

Anthony Travis était un fervent soutien à la mise en place des premières éditions du prix „Ethics & Trust in Finance“. C’est dans ce contexte que Tony nous a permis de rencontrer notre actuel président.  En retraite depuis quelques années, Tony consacrait beaucoup d’énergie à la promotion de l’entrepreneuriat en Afrique sub-saharienne et a notamment présidé Swiss African Business Circle.  Son expérience professionnelle au Congo, au début de sa carrière, a en effet marqué Tony à vie.

Merci Tony, pour ton amitié, ta compétence, ton expérience et ton humour dont nous garderons un souvenir reconnaissant.

(*) Travis, A. (2006). Enron et al. and Implications for the Auditing Profession. In: Dembinski, P.H., Lager, C., Cornford, A., Bonvin, JM. (eds) Enron and World Finance. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230518865_9

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Discussion Board n°26, 25/03/22

In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the international community has shown willingness to respond but differences and hesitations about the type of instruments, the actors to target and the level of response. The spectrum goes from possible rapid accession of Ukraine to the EU, to economic sanctions. What kind of sanctions should be taken and by whom (governments, companies) in this situation?

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Virus To Vitamin n°24, 28/01/22

After trillions of dollars have been injected to contain the economic damage from the pandemic, inflation has suddenly come back on the radar and it may not be transitory as central banks early hoped. While inflation may hurt the interests of savers and creditors, it may also be beneficial for debtors (eg. business or governments). In your view, what are the main the threats, but also possibly the main opportunities related to inflation.

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Virus To Vitamin n°22, 26/11/21

The Emissions Gap Report 2021 (UNEP) shows that pre-COP 26 national climate pledges combined with other mitigation measures put the world on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century, which is well above the goals of the Paris climate agreement and would lead to catastrophic changes. To what extent can the financial system as such, or its main players, be held – morally or/and legally – responsible for insufficient progress in containing climate warming? What should, and what should not be done to rapidly change this state of affairs? By whom?