Like banks, audit firms will face culture scrutiny and conduct risk assessments

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A prevailing assumption in many C-suites is that cultural influences on misconduct and poor performance outcomes can be identified only after harm is done: a "detect and correct" mindset. Bank regulators are now insisting upon a higher standard of care: a "predict and prevent" approach to such risks. Audit industry overseers will follow suit.

On its website, the UK arm of audit firm KPMG refers to "unique risk assessment and diagnostic tools" — tools that allow clients to evaluate the effectiveness of conduct and financial crime risk mitigation. The firm's "conduct risk and remediation" practice promises that its services will help clients to reduce the likelihood of "financially costly and reputationally damaging downstream remediation". One feels for the leaders of that practice group, who seem not to have been consulted by KPMG itself.

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