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Accounting News Roundup: SEC Secret-Keeping Fail; Olympus Governance Fail; Cheering Up Old Accountants Fail | 04.26.12

SEC Faces Questions About Tipster Policy [WSJ]
The Securities and Exchange Commission faced fresh questions about its efforts to attract whistleblowers who might help regulators uncover wrongdoing on Wall Street, following revelations that the agency unwittingly revealed a tipster's identity during a probe. The agency's disclosure of a whistleblower's identity, as reported in a page-one story in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, prompted Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to request that the SEC detail its policies to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers and others who share information, often at risk to their jobs or careers. "Whistleblowers are essential to root out fraud and malfeasance," the senator wrote in a letter sent Wednesday afternoon to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro and reviewed by the Journal. "I am concerned that the SEC may not be properly protecting the identity of whistleblowers and others who come to the SEC with information on securities law violations." John Nester, an SEC spokesman said, "Contrary to the assertions in the Journal article, no cooperating witness was revealed as a cooperating witness in the course of our investigation."

Winning the Olympus Games [WSJ]
Shareholders of scandal-plagued Olympus last week roundly rebuffed former chief executive Michael Woodford in his attempt to "hold the company accountable" for an accounting scandal he helped expose. The vote is being presented as an abject failure of corporate governance. But let's give investors a little more credit for understanding their best interests.
Analysis – U.S. demands overshadow accounting prize [Reuters]

Shareholders and regulators have long wanted the "holy grail" of a single set of reporting standards as a bedrock for comparing performance and value of companies across the world but U.S. reluctance means this goal is still a distant prospect. U.S. conditions for backing a common accounting language look likely to leave investors having to pick apart local rules and regulations as they scour global markets for havens in which to put their money.
IASB Chair Hoogervorst Sees Great Potential for XBRL [AT]
The use of XBRL data-tagging technology has been catching on globally, including in the United States, where it was mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for the financial filings of public companies in recent years. In the U.S., the Financial Accounting Standards Board oversees the XBRL taxonomy for U.S. GAAP, while the IASB is involved with the XBRL taxonomy for International Financial Reporting Standards. Speaking at the 2012 IFRS Taxonomy Annual Convention in London, Hoogervorst, a former Dutch finance minister who took over the chairmanship of the IASB last year, admitted that he had become “something of an expert on XBRL.”
Stephen Fisher Joins Ernst & Young LLP's Asset Management Practice [E&Y]
The Boston office gets a little more fishy.
One Year Old — And No Less Grumpy [GOA]
The Grumpies are just getting warmed up.
DRB Said to Hire KPMG to Assess Future of Carmaker Lotus [Bloomberg]

DRB-Hicom Bhd. (DRB), the Malaysian investment company buying the owner of British sports-car maker Lotus Group International Ltd., hired consultant KPMG regarding the business, a person familiar with the matter said. KPMG is being asked to evaluate Hethel, England-based Lotus as DRB proceeds with the purchase of the manufacturer’s parent company, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is private.


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