Tim Flynn: Back in the Game
Almost. The ex-KPMG Chairman has been nominated to join JP Morgan's board of directors. He still has to be elected by shareholders (a formality more or less) which will occur on May 15th. But Jamie Dimon seems pretty excited about the possibility, saying that JPM is "honored" that TFly has agreed to be a nominee. […]
What Do We Make of All These Non-Accountant CFOs?
John Carney points out that Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo have all appointed new CFOs recently that are not accountants. It harkens him back to a time when another bank made a similar change.
Of course Carney is talking Lehman Brothers and Erin Callan. Oh and Ian Lowitt too. Both served as Lehman’s CFO prior to the bankruptcy. Funny thing – Francine McKenna wrote a post about the problematic situation of having a CFO with no accounting experience three months before Lehman went bankrupt. But BofA, JPM and Wells aren’t Lehman are they? GAAP is really NBD, right? [CNBC]
Accounting News Roundup: Ernst & Young Wants Lawsuit Dismissed; KPMG Study Finds Goodwill Impairments Slowing; Deloitte Names New Tax Partners | 06.07.10
Lehman, Nortel, Bank of America, Google in Court News [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Dick Fuld and the rest of the ex-Lehman Brothers management team as well as Ernst & Young asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit against them brought by the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association in Oakland, California, and the Government of Guam Retirement Fund.
This lawsuit focuses on the failed disclosure by Fuld et al. of the use of Repo 105 and E&Y’s confirmation of its usage as being in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
George Clinton in funk: Accountants sue Parliament-Funkadelic star over fees [NYDN]
GC engaged Wlodinguer Erk & Chanzis to audit his royalties from Universal Records and EMI in 2003. The firm claims that they have only been paid $25,000 while the agreement they had stated that WEC would receive 20% of the $1.2 million settlement Clinton received.
KPMG Study Shows Tapering Off in Goodwill Impairment [Compliance Week]
How bad of a year was 2008? KPMG’s recent study of goodwill impairment charges of 1,700 U.S. public companies found that ’08 was a bloodbath “KPMG’s study shows goodwill impairment charges across the 1,700 companies fell from $340 billion in 2008 to $92 billion in 2009. Only 12 percent of companies in the study took a charge for goodwill impairment in 2009 compared with 17 percent in the prior year.”
And of that bleeding, banks were considerably less involved, “The study showed the technology hardware sector accounted for 23 percent of total goodwill impairment charges in 2009, followed by telecommunication services. Banks had the highest level of goodwill impairment charges in 2008, but represented only 4 percent of the total goodwill charges in 2009.”
Inquiries mount after PwC ‘failed to notice’ mistakes [Times Online]
JP Morgan settled with the UK’s Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) last week over its mishandling of client funds, fining the bank £33.3 million. Now the Financial Reporting Council and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, who both oversee accountants in the UK, are now expected to launch inquiries into PwC’s role in JPM misallocation of client funds of £1.3 billion to £15.7 billion between 2002 and July 2009:
In addition to serving as principal auditor, PwC was retained by JP Morgan to produce an annual client asset returns report — a yearly certification to prove that customers’ funds were being effectively ring-fenced and therefore protected in the event of the bank’s collapse. But PwC signed off the client report even though JP Morgan was in breach of the rules.
MOVES-Barclays Wealth, Deloitte, BlueCrest Capital, RFIB [Reuters]
Reuters reports that Deloitte’s tax practice promoted eight new partners: Pippa Booth, Andy Brook, Stephen Brown, Christie Buck, Sue Holmes, Anbreen Khan, David McNeil and Marcus Rea and three associate partners: Andrew Cox, Ashley Hollinshead and Claire Wayman.
Accounting News Roundup: Would IFRS Prevented Repo 105?; The Crazy Eddie Movie Hits a Snag; JP Morgan May Bolt Tax-Refund Loan Business | 04.29.10
Lehman case “backs” accounting convergence [Reuters]
Philippe Danjou, a board member at the IASB has been quoted as saying that Repo 105 would not have been allowed under IFRS, “From an IFRS perspective I would suspect that most transactions would have stayed on the balance sheet. It makes a case for convergence, it makes a case that we should not have different outcomes under different accounting standards when you have such big amounts.”
The G-20 asked the sages at both the FASB and the IASB to converge their rules by June-ish 2011 but some people don’t se c, as there are too many disparities on treatment of key issues between the two boards.
The Real Reason Behind Danny DeVito’s Crazy Eddie Movie Project Meltdown [White Collar Fraud]
Danny DeVito wants to make a movie based on the Crazy Eddie Fraud, which was perpetrated by, among others, Eddie and Sam Antar. The project has run aground primarily because of Eddie Antar’s life rights and the potential profit he would reap from the making of the movie. Danny D is disappointed by the developments and has sympathy for Eddie, discussing it in s recent Deadline New York article:
“He’s gone through tough times, and he’s not the aggressive tough guy they paint him to be,” De Vito said. “He’s in his 70s and the past has come back to bite us all in the ass. Peter [Steinfeld] and I told him we think there is a terrific story there, but we can’t do it with you involved, in any way. We’ve taken a breather, but we’re figuring out how to jump back in.
Sam Antar is not amused by this and chimed in with his side of the story:
Eddie Antar is plainly still in denial about his cowardice towards his own family and investors. There actually is a “family dynamic” that “explains Antar’s fall” as DeVito claims. However, Eddie Antar and other members of his immediate family are simply unwilling to give a truthful account of what really happened at Crazy Eddie, while Danny Devito is willing to accept Eddie Antar’s bullshit excuses for his vile behavior.
As Chipotle Sizzles, CFO Sells Stock [Barron’s]
Ten thousand shares at $144 and change will buy a bunch of burritos.
Medifast Lawsuit: Anti-SLAPP motions filed [Fraud Files Blog]
Back when we discussed forensic accounting, the aforementioned Sam Antar said that forensic accountants can look forward to “making many enemies in the course of their work and must be unhinged by the retaliation that normally follows uncovering fraud and other misconduct.”
Tracy Coenen, no stranger to this retaliation, is now fighting back against Medifast who has sued her and others for saying not so flattering things about the company:
Anti-SLAPP motions have been filed in the Medifast lawsuit by me and by my co-defendant, Robert FitzPatrick. My motion can be read in its entirety here, and Fitzpatrick’s can be read here.
SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It’s basically when a big company tries to shut up a little guy with expensive litigation. In my opinion, Medifast sued me and others in an attempt to get us to stop publicly analyzing or criticizing the company and it’s multi-level marketing business model.
In filing an anti-SLAPP motion, we are essentially asking the court to rule in our favor and in favor of free speech. Consumers should have the right to discuss, analyze, and criticize companies without the fear of expensive lawsuits.
JPMorgan May Quit Tax-Refund Loans, Helping H&R Block [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Bloomberg reports that JP Morgan may discontinue its financing of 13,000 independent tax preparers, a move that will benefit H&R Block, according to a competitor:
“Block is the biggest winner in this,” said John Hewitt, chief executive officer of Liberty Tax Service, a privately held company in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that also may benefit…
The reason HSBC is exiting this industry, even though they’re making $100 million a year in profit from it, is because of reputation risk,” Hewitt said in an interview. “Bankers don’t like the consumer advocacy groups picketing outside their offices.”
Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are attractive to clients that need cash immediately, based on their anticipated refund. The business is controversial because the high interest rates can drive people further into debt and consumer groups oppose them vehemently.
Funding for smaller shops that offer these loans will likely lose the business altogether as large banks like JP Morgan discontinue the financing, thus driving the business to franchise tax prep shops like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, and Liberty.
Job of the Day: Help Jamie Dimon Celebrate His $16 Million Bonus
Probably not but now that Jamie Dimon’s bonus is out, don’t you wish you could be him? Right. We all do. For starters, you could at least get a gig at the same company.
J.P. Morgan is looking to fill an AVP Senior Financial Associate role in their Worldwide Security Services group in the division of Treasury & Securities Services. Get the details after the jump.
Title: Senior Financial Associate – AVP
Location: New York, NY
Description: The Worldwide Securities Services Planning, Reporting and Analysis team is responsible for providing Business and Finance Executives standardized, meaningful and timely MIS to facilitate management decision making in support of performance analysis, forecasting and planning.
Responsibilities: Coordinate the weekly/monthly revenue and expense forecast process; deliver consolidated analysis, inclusive of the consolidated monthly and quarterly executive reviews; monitor the month-end close; support the annual planning processLiaise with product and function CFOs to understand the drivers of business variancePlay a proactive role in enhancing the current BAU processes.
See the entire description over at the GC Career Center and visit the main page for all your job search needs.
KPMG UK’s Sweet New JPM Gig
Nothing like a good (alleged) fraud story to finish up our week, eh?
Just in case you missed the story, it appears as though KPMG UK will be a tad busy in the near term trying to unravel this little mess. I suppose that’s good news for the kids working those 4 day work weeks across the pond, though the same cannot be said for JPM, who is facing an unlimited fine as a result.
UK’s Daily Mail:
More, after the jump
The FSA has called in a top firm of accountants to examine the bank’s London activities after evidence emerged that JP Morgan had mixed customers’ funds with its own.
Banks are meant to maintain a strict segregation of their own money from that which is held on behalf of clients.
But JP Morgan managers in London discovered last month that client and bank money used for trading futures and options – a way of speculating on movements in currencies, share prices and commodities – had apparently been put into a single pool.
This isn’t the first time regulatory authorities have busted firms for pooling client money and using it to play craps in the market but it is certainly the first time the FSA has gone after a big player like JP Morgan.
JP Morgan claims an “operational error” in their options and futures arm dating as far back as 2002 caused the “mix-up” though we aren’t sure we buy that line. “We identified an operational error that was corrected within 24 hours of its discovery. No clients have lost money as a result of this error and we are cooperating fully with the FSA,” a spokeswoman for the bank said.
Sure, okay. Just because no clients lost any money doesn’t make it legal. It’s now up to KPMG to slog through 7 years of transactions (at JPM’s expense) to see if any clients missed out on interest due as a result. Prelim findings are due to the FSA by the end of August, with a final report expected in September.
Have fun, KPMG UK!