CohnReznick is being sued by 49 investors of an ill-fated Platinum Partners hedge fund who claim the accounting firm is complicit in and benefited from a fraud that doomed Platinum. Institutional Investor reported: The group of investors, who collectively sunk $63 million into the Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Fund, filed a lawsuit against CohnReznick in the […]
It's been a bit since we've covered the comings and goings of Rothstein Kass refugees making their way in the post-KPMG acquisition world. Some of them have broken off and formed their own offices. Others are undoubtedly sticking around. For 14 year RK veteran Matthew Anderson, it was Door #1: Fort Worth-based Weaver is expanding […]
Becoming number one in the hedge fund space wouldn't be an impressive achievement without a masturbatory press release celebrating it. KPMG delivers! KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, has completed its acquisition of certain assets of Rothstein Kass and the admission of most of the former Rothstein Kass principals and employees. The […]
Since 1982, the SEC has defined an "accredited investor" as someone with $1 million sitting around collecting dust or annual income of $200,000 in each of the previous two years with the reasonable assumption of making at least $200,000 in the year ahead. In 2006, Chris Cox wanted to bump that up to $3 million, […]
From the first moment the Rothstein Kass KPMG rumors started circling the bowl, it was pretty clear that RK's golden child is its hedge fund practice. Surely KPMG wasn't interested in the deal just so they could acquire Rothstein Kass' novelty cell phone stand named Trusty. Well, Audit Analytics put things in handy chart form […]
Oh Hamilton Nolan… you'd be wise to avoid writing about things you just don't understand. Case in point, this alleged hedge fund "P&L statement" he came up with that is less P&L and more some internal spreadsheet that likely got spit out by the fund's accounting software, if it's real at all: Hedge funds are […]
I am a CPA with 5 years experience in a 2nd tier firm (i.e. BDO, Grant Thornton), with the first two years in the Financial Services audit group, and have spent the last three years in Financial Services tax group. All five years, I have pretty much been working on Hedge Funds, ��������������������, etc. Recently, I have come to the realization that I’m getting a little bored of accounting. I still have an interest in the financial markets, and would like to explore opportunities on the investment side, possibly as an analyst at either a fund or investment bank. I spoke to a buddy at one of the major investment banks who gave me some advice. He mentioned that my skills serving Financial Services clients as well as having an understanding of financial statements should translate well to an analyst type of role at a fund or investment bank. He also mentioned that to get my foot in the door, my choices are either to get an Ivy League MBA or take the CFA exam. With that said, I have the following questions: 1) Is it correct that a fund or investment bank would value my skills in terms of placing me in an analyst type of role? 2) What would be the better option, going for the MBA or studying for the CFA (keep in mind that I’d prefer studying for the CFA given the fact that tax season makes it difficult to attend class)? 3) Would I have to wait till I finish an MBA program or pass all 3 parts of the CFA exam or would I be able to make the change after say a couple of semesters into an MBA program or having passed one part of the CFA exam? I would appreciate your insight.
Bored of Accounting
Dear BoA (no, not the flailing AIG target),
Before I take my red pen to your hopeful ambitions of being an analyst, let’s take a few minutes to quickly set two things straight:
#1 – You should not be going to work at a bank – UBS. Credit Suisse. RBS. Goldman. Barclays. Morgan Stanley. No, not a list of places you’re qualified to work because you know how to read a cash flow and prep a K-1. Cuts. Firings. Shit bonuses (relative). SEC in your face. Why the hell would you want to work for a bank, regardless of your level of qualification? You haven’t been auditing banks. You’ve been working in asset management.
#2 I’m going to assume you’re referring to a real analyst position – Not a management company accountant job that the HR guru at RBS slapped a “financial analyst” title on to make the recruiting process easier (“oh, but you’ll have the chance to MOVE AROUND IN THE GROUP YAYYYY.”) That shit doesn’t happen. So, judging by your CFA and MBA speak, you’re referring to a real analyst position, right? Right. Good, now on to your questions.
Q: Is it correct that a fund or investment bank would value my skills in terms of placing me in an analyst type of role?
DWB: You can answer this yourself. Analyze your own experiences – what makes you qualified for such a position? With a little digging on LinkedIn and a basic understanding of your firm’s asset management clients, I can assume that most of your clients fall into the long/short strategy (maybe some bank debt, probably no high yield or event driven exposure). What are your “skills”? K-1 preparation? Washes? Auditing control testwork? Reviewing a waterfall calc? Accounting, accounting, accounting. “But I read the Journal every day.” – So do I, and I’m in HUMAN RESOURCES. I also read Bloomberg and comment regularly on ZeroHedge, but that doesn’t mean I should be calling the shots on a desk.
Q: What would be the better option, going for the MBA or studying for the CFA (keep in mind that I’d prefer studying for the CFA given the fact that tax season makes it difficult to attend class)?
DWB: If you’re going the MBA – and based on your current experience – you need a top 10 MBA program. Attending night school at CUNY Baruch for an MBA will not do the trick. With regards to the CFA – you need to get to level 2 at a minimum. Level 1 is pie.
Q: Would I have to wait till I finish an MBA program or pass all 3 parts of the CFA exam or would I be able to make the change after say a couple of semesters into an MBA program or having passed one part of the CFA exam?
DWB: You really want to make the move? Forget the CFA for now, get into a top 10 MBA program, drop out of work, and go fulltime. Seriously. This will give you the opportunity to network with your classmates, pursue summer internships and rotational programs, and get things done (meaning – move on from accounting) in an efficient manner.
Listen, I’m just trying to be honest. None of this is meant to pee in your Cheerios or diminish what you’ve done so far in your career (by all accounts, you’ve been very successful). But think about the greater picture – the banks are in the shitter, the economy is sloppy mess, and the market is flooded with Ivy grads coming off of fresh experience from the banks’ two year programs. Simply put – you’re not on the same playing level. If you know how to maximize the profitability in the futures market on tankers trekking through hurricane season while carrying retail goods from China to US ports, then maybe we should talk but until then…it will be easier to stick with what you’re good at. Try getting into a middle office role at a fund, or even a role working as the #2 to the CFO of a small fund. Sure, you’ll have to close the books at the end of the month, but you’ll also have exposure to investment meetings, investor relations duties, etc. over time.
When George Soros announced he was essentially shuttering Soros Fund Management and his infamous Quantum fund after almost a decade of declining new client money, you could almost hear the jaws drop around the world. But one person was not surprised: Ellen Schubert, chief adviser to Deloitte’s hedge fund practice.
“Soros won’t be the last,” Schubert told investment website AdvisorOne this week. “Hedge fund managers generally are very smart people who have usually enjoyed what they were doing.”
Earlier in the year, Schubert actually described Soros’ new strategy pretty well when she shared a new trend among startup hedge funds; bypassing clients that aren’t friends or family to avoid hitting the mandatory SEC registration requirement for funds managing a minimum of $150 million.
When Bloomberg told us Soros was out, they made Dodd-Frank sound like a dirty word writing “There’s a two-word explanation for closing what was once one of the world’s biggest hedge funds and consistently one of the best-performing — with returns of about 30 percent annually in its first 30 years: Dodd-Frank.”
How many more hedge fund managers will follow Soros’ lead? And how many of them could blame Dodd-Frank for their departures from other people’s money?
Soros’ fund was exempt from rules that require private investment advisers to register with the SEC but those exemptions will not be an option come March 2012. Which could or could not have something to do with Soros’ decision, though that’s doubtful given the fact this decision has been in the making since 2000.
Ed. note: Do you have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].
Dear Going Concern,
I have been in Big 4 FS Tax for the past two years and recently was promoted to Senior. Headhunters have been calling me with great opportunities in the tax departments of Hedge Fund/PE firms. The pay increase is significant and the hours will undoubtedly be better. However, I’m worried about leaving Public Accounting too early in my career. My eventual career goal is to become a Controller or CFO at a Hedge Fund. The headhunters I’ve spoken with insist that HF/PE firms prefer candidates with a mix of Public and Private experience for those positions. I’m wondering if I should stick around until making manager at Big 4 or if, as the headhunters recommend, leaving now as a Senior is the right move for me.
First world problem
Dear First World Problem,
Alright, listen up. The most important thing to do when you want to start looking for a role is to find a headhunter or two that you trust (and hopefully can trust you to not tattle on them for $5 worth of Starbucks). Yes, we all loathe headhunters. They call, they email; some pester more than others. Sure, most are in the same pool with real estate brokers (an evil means to an end), but there are some that see you as more than a pay-day and will serve as excellent resources throughout your career. A good recruiter will send you a select handful of opportunities that fit exactly what you’re looking for, not a blast email with 17 write-ups all containing the same five bullet points.
That said, with two years into your career you’re just starting to see the wave of job opportunities. Two to four years is the window that many most staff roles fall into at hedge/PE firms, both on the fund accounting and tax side. This is because most asset management firms consider the Big 4 (and regional firms that have an alternatives focus) to be training grounds for their back office hires. Why hire an accountant off of a college campus to do fund accounting work when you can have the Big 4 train ‘em up and toughen ‘em, up for you?
However, the difference is that the number of tax staff positions in-house at a hedge/PE firm are limited. Example: a hedge fund running $5bil in assets under management through six separate funds needs a tax director (typically 7+ years of public/private) and a staff member to assist with work. The same firm would have Sr. Controller/CFO, 1-3 fund controllers and a small staff of accountants running the day-to-day. Because of this prime example in supply and demand, I’d encourage you to interview for any and all roles that interest you, but more important than when you leave is what you leave for. In your case, being a CFO is your ultimate goal – you should be looking at opportunities that are a blend of tax and fund accounting. These roles typically exist at less institutionalized funds, so do your due diligence on opportunities at the likes of Och-Ziff, Blackstone, Fortress, etc. Talk to your recruiter about your long term goals and the need to better position yourself by diversifying your professional experiences. Right now you know K1’s, wash sales and partner allocations; a good recruiter knows what it takes to get you on the Controller/CFO track. It might be the first firm you interview with, or the tenth. When you find it, you’ll know.
Big win for the KPMG audit practice in New York as we’ve confirmed that the Asset Management group has won more audit work from the Westport, Connecticut hedge fund.
This week Institutional Investor compiled the largest 25 Hedge Funds and Bridgewater was at the top with $58.9 billion in hedge fund assets. Our source, someone familiar with matter, was impressed, “Huge win for them considering they’re typically fighting for 3rd in those major bids.” It’s our understanding that KPMG had some work from BW but adding more engagements will make for a prestigious addition to their client roster. Congrats to KPMG and the team that made it happen.
A source informs us that this is hardly surprise as E&Y has some the best known shops as clients including SAC Capital, Third Point, Anchorage Capital Partners, Reservoir Capital Group and Pershing Square. Although the HF honchos still appreciate the recognition:
“Receiving this award is a testament to Ernst & Young’s 25-year commitment to serving hedge funds through every phase of their business – from starting up through investment, global expansion and going public,” said Art Tully, Co-leader, Global Hedge Fund Practice, Ernst & Young LLP. “Since we began serving the alternative investments industry more than two decades ago, our seasoned professionals have worked to help hedge fund clients anticipate and meet new regulatory, transactional, accounting, tax, technology, operations and investor demands.”
“Ernst & Young’s hedge fund practice was founded on start-ups. In 2009, we audited the most significant share of the top 25 fund launches in 2009,” said Mike Serota, Co-leader, Global Hedge Fund Practice, Ernst & Young LLP. “As these organizations continue to evolve and expand, we can support their evolving needs through our extensive portfolio of services.”
E&Y is two for two in Hedge Fund Manager Week’s Best Accounting Firm Category so it’s a little early for any “dynasty” rhetoric but they seem to have a decent hold on things.
Fancy yourself a savvy investor? Are you starting a new hedge fund? Need a professional services firm to cater to your every whim so you can concentrate on creating the next shop to be lovingly mocked by our sister from another mister?
SOLUTION: Deloitte’s global full-service hedge fund emerging manager platform. Never heard of it? Of course not! It’s a brand-spanking new platoon in the asset management practice that is just rolling out Project KATN circa now:
“In today’s environment, emerging managers need recognized industry heavyweights for professional services. Deloitte has launched the hedge fund emerging manager platform to provide emerging managers with a solution that offers access to our global network, and customized, creative and responsive service,” said Cary Stier, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. asset management services leader. “If you launch with Deloitte, you stay with Deloitte. A client cannot outgrow our services. Deloitte delivers results that matter.”
And because Deloitte already has “70 percent of U.S. hedge funds with more than $20 billion in assets under management, and 75 percent of global hedge funds with more than $20 billion in assets under management,” they figured that it was about time they started thinking about the little people-cum-hedge fund managers out there. You aren’t going to turn your tiny flagship fund into a behemoth without some help, so why not go with the firm that already schleps for most of the big boys?
So when shopping around for your indentured professional servants budding hedgies, Deloitte’s HFEMP (?) will have you know that they will be there with you every step of the way. From the time you realize your ginormous fortune (pet jungle cats, gold-plated toilets, etc.) to the spectacular implosion (incessant posts by BL, perp walk).
Showdown on Fund Taxes [WSJ]
The U.S. Senate plan to tax private equity and hedge fund managers who earn carried interest has been rolled out and it would double the rate on this income from 15% to 30% in 2011 and 33% in 2013. Supporters of the bill argue that carried interest is “basically wages” and that the 15% is a “fundamental unfairness in the tax code.”
The industry is not amused by the Senate’s latest rich hating measures. The Journal quotes Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Private Equity Council, “[E]arning carried interest involves taking risks, making long-term investments and exposing yourself to t you’ll have to return your earnings if things don’t work out. No one who gets a paycheck has to face those consequences.”
But that’s not all! Also in the proposal is a “enterprise-value tax” provision that would tax the sale of any private equity fund, hedge fund, or real estate partnership at higher rates than of other businesses including publicly traded oil and gas partnerships.
Ex-CEO and CFO of Duane Reade Convicted in NY [AP]
No matter what Anthony Cuti and William Tennant did (“scheming to falsely inflate the income and reduce the expenses that Duane Reade reported to investors.”), if you bank with Jamie Dimon, you’re grateful for every DR.
How White-Collar Criminals Exploit Your Vanity – Beware of Compliments [White Collar Fraud]
Sam Antar has all but eliminated any possibility of ever getting a date ever again by admitting that any compliment that he gives is may have an ulterior motive, “The more likable and charming that I was as a criminal, the easier it was for me to successfully lie to my victims and deceive them. People are far less skeptical of people who they like and the white-collar criminals know it and exploit it.”
Most of you have never been paid a compliment by Sam but maybe some of you can think of a client that seems to go out of their way to stroke your ego. Or maybe it’s a combination of a compliment here or there (e.g. “you’re looking buff” or “nice ass”) from the controller and the hot junior accountant that keeps inviting you out to lunch for no discernible reason.
The lesson here is be skeptical of things being a little too good to be true for an audit. If your client doesn’t particularly like you and they look like they came from deep inside the ugly forest you might be able to rest easy. Otherwise, stay on your toes.
EBay’s Whitman Faces Brown for California Governor [Bloomberg]
A former auctioneer will face off against a failed Presidential candidate for the arguably the worst job in the country.
Four who took down Petters honored [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
Swashbuckling industrialist-cum-Ponzi Scheme architect Tom Petters is doing 50 years for his crimes but the four investigators – FBI special agents Brian Kinney and Eileen Rice, FBI forensic accountant Josiah Lamb and Kathy Klug of the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division – were honored yesterday for their efforts with a 2009 Law Enforcement Recognition Award by the Minnesota U.S. Attorney.
Of course, they couldn’t have done it alone (plus it’s honor just to be nominated), as they were assisted by more than 100 other agents who brought down Petters. Then someone made a Bernie Madoff joke and the fun ended right there.
Can We Trust Bidz.com’s Financial Reporting? [White Collar Fraud]
We won’t tell you what to think but you should know that Bidz reported “material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting” specifically those controls over “management oversight and anti-fraud controls specifically in processing of financial transactions, vendor review and payment processing,” in its most recent 10-K and