Morgan Stanley Swings to Profit [WSJ]
Morgan Stanley swung to a third-quarter profit, helped by a large accounting gain that stemmed from declines in the value of its debt. The Wall Street bank posted profit of $2.15 billion, or $1.15 a share, compared with a loss of $91 million, or 7 cents a share a year ago. Revenues rose 46% to $9.89 billion from $6.78 billion a year ago. Excluding a gain of $3.4 billion from a debt-valuation adjustment, Morgan Stanley earned 2 cents per share.
Now Let Us Say Certain Things About DVA [DB]
Matt Levine explains how the banks use bizarro accounting to their advantage.
A Taxing Debate: The Mortgage-Interest Deduction [Bloomberg]
The mortgage-interest deduction may be your favorite tax break, but be aware that it has some impressive enemies. The fiscal commissions of two different Presidents proposed eliminating it, first in 2005 and then in 2010. There's also a steady stream of research from such places as the London School of Economics and the Brookings Institution arguing that the deduction doesn't boost homeownership, but instead provides incentives for wealthier Americans to buy big houses and take on more debt. Nevertheless, the mortgage-interest tax deduction survives, fortified in Washington by strong housing industry support and its presumed popularity with voters. Now, according to a recent Bloomberg Poll, a growing number of Americans may be willing to end the mortgage tax deduction — as long as they get something in return.
Cain 9-9-9 Plan Challenged as Raising Taxes for Lower Income [Bloomberg]
The proposal would reduce the tax bill for almost 95 percent of Americans with cash income exceeding $1 million, according to the analysis released yesterday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington. Almost 70 percent of taxpayers with cash income between $200,000 and $500,000 would pay less in taxes, the analysis said. Meanwhile, about 95 percent of Americans with cash income between $30,000 and $40,000 would pay more in taxes. This analysis presumes the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would be permanently extended. The 9-9-9 plan “substantially increases the tax burden on low- and middle-income families and it substantially cuts the tax burden on the highest-income taxpayers,” said Eric Toder, the Tax Policy Center’s co-director. “Most taxpayers would experience an increase under this plan.”
Olympus Defends Fees Paid to Advisers [NYT]
Last week, Olympus ousted its president, Michael C. Woodford, citing a management culture clash. Striking back, Mr. Woodford on Monday accused the company of wrongdoing, saying that it had paid $687 million, or a third of the purchase price, to two advisory companies related to its acquisition of the Gyrus Group in 2008. Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, the Olympus chairman, told the Nikkei newspaper that the actual amount was about $391 million, and the company issued a statement denying that the payments broke accounting rules. “Investors expected that management would deny everything but in fact the chairman started to admit things,” Yuuki Sakurai, president at Fukoku Capital Management, said in a phone interview. “Only the numbers are different. They admitted the payment even though several years ago they didn’t disclose it. It makes you wonder if there’s more out there.”
The PCAOB Wants to Name Audit Engagement Partners: Would Its "Red A" Really Matter? [Re:Balance]
Jim Peterson: "It’s a bogus issue, and not worth the distraction from serious matters."
The PCAOB Should Name Names – All of Them [Accounting Onion]
Y la cebolla: "If the PCAOB truly wants the naming of responsible engagement partners to have information and deterrent value, it needs to be more forthcoming itself about the results of its inspections, and to publish the information in a timely manner."
Groupon planning IPO launch for next week–sources [Reuters]
Groupon Inc is pushing ahead with plans to go public in the face of a volatile equity market, a recent executive departure and questions about its accounting and financial disclosures, sources said on Tuesday. Groupon, the largest daily deal company, is planning to launch a roadshow for its initial public offering next week, on Monday or Tuesday, three sources familiar with the situation said. The IPO is expected to value the Chicago-based company at over $10 billion, likely in the range of $11 billion to $12 billion, two of the sources said.
AICPA Prepares for Canadian CPA Expansion [AT]
The American Institute of CPAs has been holding discussions with the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and CMA Canada on bringing the CPA designation up north and combining it with the CA and CMA designations. At the AICPA’s Fall Meeting of Council in Phoenix on Tuesday, AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon described the Institute’s international expansion plans, including how the CPA Exam will soon be administered in South America, starting with Brazil.