Author Archive

At The University of Chicago Booth School of Business Capital Ideas Blog: Stock Options Backdating And Stress Tests

By Francine • Apr 30th, 2014

I’ve recently published two pieces for Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Blog on stock options backdating and bank stress test disclosure. Take a look!

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US Department of Justice v KPMG: Document Shows “Too Few To Fail” Was Opening Premise

By Francine • Apr 19th, 2014

A new KPMG tax shelter era document surfaced, in original format, that had not yet been cited or quoted from in any media reports. The document tells us that late in the negotiations, June 27, 2005 the DOJ still would not agree to all of KPMG’s terms, including promising not to criminally charge the firm. But the decision to make sure the firm did not “go under” had already been made. KPMG and its Skadden attorneys only had to make sure the DOJ didn’t, in a misguided show of sheer aggressiveness, cause another Arthur Andersen.

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PwC, And HP, Sued By Mobile Monitor Technologies LLC For Theft of Trade Secrets

By Francine • Apr 14th, 2014

An ugly lawsuit filed by Mobile Monitor Technologies LLC against PwC and HP could be an excellent example of what Monadnock’s Mark O’Connor referred to in a recent post here: Advisory work that auditors perform can present an untenable conflict in performing their primary role, and public duty to the capital markets, as auditors.

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Guest Post From Eric Starkman: The “Unvarnished” Truth About General Motors

By Francine • Apr 6th, 2014

GM is in trouble again and this time it’s worse than some weak internal controls or even a bankruptcy. Cost cutting may have discouraged the prompt replacement of faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 fatalities and the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Are you still glad we bailed the company out?

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Benjamin Wey Sent Me A Threatening Email About AgFeed

By Francine • Apr 3rd, 2014

I received a threatening email yesterday from Chinese stock promoter Tianbing “Benjamin” Wey, whose New York Global Group (“NYGG”) was closely affiliated with the failed, fraudulent Chinese hog producer AgFeed during the period under litigation by the SEC and shareholders. He did not like my mention of his relationship to AgFeed, its auditor and its executives in a recent post about AgFeed’s audit firms. His claims are not only strange but wrong.

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All The Auditors Are Above Average: Jay Hanson Allergic To “Audit Failure”

By Francine • Mar 26th, 2014

Should audit and auditor failure be solely defined by identified material misstatements that result in restatements, and internal control failures? I don’t think so but Jay Hanson, PCAOB Board member, said so recently.

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The SEC’s AgFeed Complaint: No Restatement Means No Sarbanes-Oxley Clawback

By Francine • Mar 23rd, 2014

The AgFeed case is the mother lode for an SEC that says it’s ready to rack up some accounting fraud enforcement points and, perhaps, pursue a more aggressive enforcement approach to sparsely utilized Sarbanes-Oxley provisions like Section 304, clawbacks.

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A Need for Transparency In Financial Staffing: A Guest Post From Dan Gaffney

By Francine • Mar 18th, 2014

According to Freelancers Union, almost one-third of the American workforce is independent. That’s nearly 42 million people and growing. The staffing industry, which should support the wave of new freelancers, hasn’t adapted since William Russell Kelly founded the Russell Kelly Office Service in Detroit in 1946.

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Exclusive From Monadnock Research: Big Four Fiscal 2013 Advisory Practice Rankings and Conflict Risk Metrics

By Francine • Mar 18th, 2014

This Monadnock Research Note offers an in-depth analysis of organic growth and strategic M&A in non-audit services for the Big Four audit firms, highlighting the growing risks associated with an increasing proportion of advisory relative to audit services at Big Four firms – and the conflict risk that this unique mix of services presents.

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A China Fraud Dissected: Part 3 AgFeed’s Trusted Advisors Protiviti and Latham & Watkins

By Francine • Mar 7th, 2014

Company executives and directors like to believe they can purchase a posse of “trusted advisors”. Instead, they’ve often only bought a gaggle of self-interested auditors, lawyers, and consultants. But to whom does each of those vendors owe loyalty?

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