I noticed a small little thing in one of the first stories about Scott London. As I tried to research and write about it, I waited for someone else to pick up on it. (No one else did.) Scott London seems to have subverted the intent of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 203 that requires lead engagement partner rotation off engagements to promote objectivity, independence and professional skepticism.
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I put two new columns up at Forbes recently that talk about JPMorgan, PwC, Senator Levin’s “Whale” hearings, and all the other stuff JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon are really worried about.
The Wall Street Journal has been accepting sponsored content, in an exclusive contract with Deloitte, for a while for its CFO Journal, CIO Journal and now a new publication, Risk & Compliance Journal. You may not have noticed. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between news and advertising.
The issue of tax avoidance by corporations is a hot one. In the US and in the UK, legislators and pundits seeking “tax justice” have changed the discussion from one of tax breaks that stimulate “jobs and growth” to one of tax fairness to provide much needed funds for public works and public commitments in times of economic hardship. The Big Four audit firms play all sides like a fiddle.
I thought after all that had happened at JPMorgan Chase last year – for example, billions in losses from the “whale” trade, investigations into Libor and AML illegal acts, multiple lawsuits including by the New York Attorney General for foreclosure fraud – someone would take a close look at internal audit and, maybe, make some big changes. I was wrong.
Here’s the thing…The perception of auditor independence is as important, or maybe even more important, than the fact of auditor independence. This is not new.
Deutsche Bank may have avoided a bailout by the German government but borrowed billions from the US Federal Reserve and various programs during this period. So much for avoiding a bailout by pretending there was no risk of catastrophic losses during the financial crisis.
When HP announced its intention to acquire Autonomy, the British data analysis firm now mired in accusations of serious fraud, Deloitte probably shed some enormous tears of joy. Deloitte can now openly replace those Autonomy audit fees with guilt-free consulting and lucrative alliance deals.
I taped an episode of the Keiser Report last week while in New York. The focus was Jamie Dimon with a bit of MF Global thrown in for heat. Max Keiser, the host, asked me this question: Why does Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase still have a job?