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Inside the ABI: The world of IFRS with Senior Policy Adviser, Andrew Carpenter

What’s the best thing about working at the ABI?

The ABI gets things done and is effective. That gives satisfaction which is reflected in the quality of the people who are attracted to the ABI, and in their enjoyment of their work. As colleagues, they are good to work with – and to play with, for the ABI has much social activity (sports, choir, etc).

What surprised you most about working here?

My previous knowledge of insurance was quite limited. I knew it mattered of course, but only when I joined the ABI did I realise just how much and where; indeed, how central it is to our economy and society. And therefore, how it works is a matter for public policy and regulation - in which there’s so much change, and a lot of that is fast paced.

Describe your team in three words.

Professional, collaborative, friendly.

Tell us about your role at the ABI – what do you do and why?

I work in the Prudential Regulation team, engaging with our Members and key stakeholders on financial and other corporate reporting developments. My aim is to ensure that our members are able to communicate effectively with the market, regulators and other stakeholders.

This work is mostly forward-looking, especially given that IFRS has continued to evolve in ways that matter to our members. The role includes working on key IASB projects through the whole IFRS life cycle - from the IASB’s agenda setting through its research, discussion paper, and exposure draft stages to final standard issuance, and on to post-implementation review and potentially further changes. I work with members to establish the potential impact on their priorities and how to achieve cost effective reporting that fairly reflects the economics of their business performance.

This involves engagement with many stakeholders as well as the IASB - not just in the UK but, because IFRS application is global and our members include multinationals, also with those in Europe and beyond. Contact with peers internationally is especially important to ensure that solutions are appropriate for the UK context and our members’ business models.

Corporate reporting is of course wider than IFRS (and UK GAAP) financials. Developments in sustainability reporting, corporate governance, and audit, and in parallel in Solvency II, also have all also presented challenges that have been exciting to engage with.

So, the why … well, it’s satisfying and fun.

What’s been your highlight of working at the ABI ?

A top priority for me has been IFRS 17, Insurance Contracts. Easily the most complex of IFRSs, it took over 20 years to develop, and it will radically change our life members’ reporting especially. I joined at the IASB’s discussion paper stage. How different is IFRS 17 now!  A lot of hard work and lobbying by the industry achieved a better standard than at times seemed likely, even if some scope for further improvements remain.

Where did you work before, how and why did you come to join the ABI?

Before joining the ABI, I worked in PwC and then in HM Treasury. IFRS was being developed and implemented – for listeds, of course, but also latterly even in central government where the added challenge was squaring the circle with a complex budgetary system and making the case for the result. When I saw the role at ABI, I thought the combination of technical and lobbying challenges even more attractive because it also offered the opportunity to engage also in IFRS development rather than dealing simply with the finished product.

Find out more about Andrew's role and how to apply here

Last updated 15/10/2021