Speaking at the launch of the paper, which has been endorsed by the Stock Exchange as part of its listing requirements, Turnbull said it did not mark the end of the debate. 'In a five-year timetable something new might easily emerge but if there are problems with the current paper, they may well get resolved in practice,' he said. The completed 15-page report changed little from the draft despite the fact the consultation period attracted around 70 detailed responses. Deputy committee chairman and PricewaterhouseCoopers head of professional affairs Roger Davis said: 'We had near unanimous support for the key planks of it regarding the risk-based approach and the responsibility of the board. The great majority of the comments were asking for clarification.' The revised guidance places emphasis on the board, creating a system where internal controls can be monitored and risks can be reported quickly. The board should also undertake an annual assessment for the purpose of making a public statement in the annual report which has to be signed off by external auditors. Davis said this should provide a warning for any listed company which is hoping to comply with the minimum that the guidance recommends. 'External auditors have a responsibility here and they must review what is said about the process and the audit of risk and if they have a client paying lip-service to the report then the auditors would have to consider their position,' he said. The committee expected most companies had already made the necessary changes to their procedures, with both GlaxoWellcome finance director John Coombe and Thames Water group finance and planning director David Luffrum confirming they had already reviewed their systems. Luffrum said: 'Turnbull is an interesting and sensible development of what board responsibility means, and the emphasis on risk management as part of corporate governance is sound. We have certainly been looking at how we might improve on our basic thinking.' Mark Stock, head of KPMG's corporate governance services, said the changes were welcome: 'They have recognised that the key to success in this is having an embedded process for internal review.' But, with no codified standard, he warned: 'The first organisations to jump the hurdle will effectively set the standard for the rest.' To coincide with the release of the Turnbull report, the English ICA launched a paper on implementing the new corporate governance guidance.
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