Michel Barnier: The Big 4 Audit Model Is a Failure
Okay, those weren’t the EU financial services commissioner’s exact words but you get the sincere impression that he’s had it up to his silver coif with how things are going.
“The crisis highlighted failings in the audit sector,” Barnier said today. “These need to be explored and we need to see what improvements can be made. I believe it is important to approach this discussion in a frank and open manner. No subject should be taboo.”
Right! No subject is off limits. So what will be discussed? Well, for starters this Big 4 thing has to stop. The Telegraph reports, “If one of the Big Four – PricewaterHouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – were to collapse the Paper suggests it could create systemic risk for the financial markets.”
Secondly, the notion of independence and “putting shareholders” first is a sham. ‘Berg reports:
Restrictions on auditor choice may reduce “distortion within the system” caused by auditing firms acting in the interests of their clients rather than shareholders when compiling reports on a companies’ financial health, the commission said in a report outlining possible measures.
The commission said it’s also considering rules that would force companies to change their auditing firms after a fixed period of time.
Forcing companies to rotate their auditors would “enhance the independence of auditors” and “operate as a catalyst to introduce more dynamism and capacity into the audit market,” the commission said.
Lastly, can a Frenchman get some choice up in this mofo?
The top four accounting firms have a market share of about 90 percent in the majority of EU member states, according to the commission’s report.
“The market appears to be too concentrated in certain segments and deny clients sufficient choice when deciding on their auditors,” the commission said.
Barnier isn’t asking for a full-blown cafeteria but for crissakes, the choices right now are chicken, chicken, and….chicken. Sure, they might have slightly different recipes (e.g. KPMG a little spicy/sweet, PwC is in a cream sauce) but it’s all chicken. And Barnier HATES chicken.
Companies May Lose Right to Pick Auditing Firms Under European Union Plans [Bloomberg]
EU markets chief Barnier plans radical overhaul of audit industry [Telegraph]
Accounting News Roundup: Why Did Power Integrations Fire Their CFO?; Spain Making ‘Sweeping Austerity Measures’; GM May Want GMAC Back | 05.12.10
Power Integrations fires chief financial officer [AP]
Not to worry Power Integrations investors, Bill Roeschlein’s firing “was not related to financial statements or regulatory issues,” according to the company. However, he is currently the “subject of a felony domestic assault criminal complaint filed in Missouri,” which he denies and naturally he will “defend himself vigorously.” Unfortunately, that might cut into the job search.
Spain joins euro zone austerity bandwagon [Reuters]
Spain has agreed to “sweeping austerity measures,” cutting civil service pay 5% and freezing it for 2011. The country will also cut approximately 13,000 public sector jobs.
Minority Owner Sues Cuban, Calls Mavericks ‘Insolvent’ [NYT]
Ross Perot, Jr. is suing SEC target Mark Cuban, accusing him of turning the Dallas Mavericks into a financial catastrophe. The Times reports, “Perot is seeking damages, the naming of a receiver to take over the team and the appointment of a forensic accountant to investigate its finances. Perot said that Cuban’s actions had diminished the value of his investment in the team and violated his and other minority owners’ rights.”
Cuban, as you might expect, isn’t impressed with Charts Boy, Jr.’s loserness. He wrote in an email to the Dallas Morning News, “There is no risk of insolvency. Everyone always has been and will be paid on time. Being in business with Ross Perot is one of the worst experiences of my business life. He could care less about Mavs fans. He could care less about winning.”
Failed Bomber’s Resume Fail [FINS]
Faisal Shazad’s resumé sucks.
Is G.M. Looking to Buy Back GMAC? [AP]
Sources say that GM is interested in buying back GMAC (now known as Ally Financial) “so they can offer more competitive lease and loan deals.” The U.S. Government currently owns 56% of GMAC and 61% of GM, who plans to announce its first quarter earnings next week.