Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review Comments - 6.30.09

Touching Me, Touching You—at Work - Yes, your creepy manager who thinks you like his massages is either terribly affectionate or totally coming on to you. [WSJ]

U.S. demands UBS "comply in full" in tax evasion case
- No real wiggle room there. [Reuters]

After 8 Months, Franken Wins Senate Seat in Minnesota
- Did anyone outside of Minnesota know that this was still going on? [New York Times] Sphere: Related Content

Stanford to Stay in Jail and Get Pumped While Awaiting Trial

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan businessmen indicted on 21 counts relating to an alleged $7bn Ponzi scheme, will have to remain in custody until his trial. The judge, David Hittner, agreed with prosecutors who had argued that the financier was a "serious flight risk" and could not be relied upon to appear in court if granted freedom on bail.
Stan the Man and his guns show would never think of going on the lam but if that's the way you want it judge, fine. He'll show those Texas cons how to win new clients pump some iron and then he'll have his day in circus court.

[The Stanford Series] Judge rules Sir Allen Stanford must stay in jail pending trial [FT Alphaville] Sphere: Related Content

Ernst & Young Might be Going Down but It's Not Because of This

So you merge your company with a bank and it turns out that the bank has about half a billion less in assets than they reported. Regulators come in, take over the bank and your life is ruined. RUINED! The next, most logical step (and most American, for that matter) is to sue anyone and everyone that remotely has got their stank on this thing because, dammit, businesses don't fail in America!

Alan Schein sold his mortgage marketing company (sounds like a scam) to Superior Bank of Illinois and turns out, Superior was making up their numbers. E&Y missed the booboo and now Schein is blaming the them, natch, because what the hell does he know about auditing or doing due diligence?

Oh, and Schein is also claiming that E&Y covered up the mistake because they were trying to sell their consulting arm at the time for $10 Bil and Capgemini, the buyer, would have never bought E&Y's consulting business because of a mistake made by the audit practice. NEVER!

Schein, obviously being a student of classic egomaniacal logic because, duh, his business was so kick ass that a multi-billion dollar deal WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED had this accounting error was known by all.

Our advice to Mr. Schein would be that if you're going to make wild-ass accusations, at the very least try taking a less narcissistic route. You're a small fish pal. E&Y saves their cover ups for failures of Lehman-sized proportions and having serious Madoff exposure and auditing UBS, not your shady "mortgage marketing company" (which we still don't know what that is). E&Y, don't worry, we've got your back on this one.

Ernst & Young Sued for Allegedly Covering Up Bad Audits
[Law.com] Sphere: Related Content

The Gods are Smiling on Foreign Bank Account Holders Today

In kinder gentler IRS news, the agency announced that today's deadline for filing the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) has been extended for those taxpayers that can explain why they need more time to hide report income from offshore accounts.

Apparently taxpayers have been crazy confused about whether the foreign reporting requirements apply to them because they've got so much money, in so many countries that they just don't really give a damn.

Taxpayers filing for the extension have until September 23 because that's obviously a logical date.

IRS extends offshore reporting deadline
[Accountancy Age] Sphere: Related Content

PwC India Admits to Not Auditing Satyam

Look, maybe this isn't what it seems. Maybe what Ramesh Rajan, chairman and CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, India meant when he told the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that Lovelock & Lewes actually performed audit procedures on Satyam's balance sheet, he meant this:
See, we didn't audit them in this dimension. We totally audited them in a parallel universe where I'm still me and you're still you but Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston stay together and that manipulative Angelina doesn't ruin their beautiful perfect relationship. That's the dimension we all want to be in, isn't it?
Oh, and the Times of India also says that the audit fees were deposited into a Pricewaterhouse, Bangalore account but were later transferred to a Lovelock & Lewes account. And there's more:
Apart from Rajan, other senior partners of PW, from Delhi and Kolkata, were also summoned by the CBI last week. The partners denied any association with PW, Bangalore and said that Gopalakrishnan and Talluri [partners in charge of the engagement that are in prison] were not entitled to sign any balance sheet on behalf of PW. "So as it turns out, the auditors who are partners with PW, Bangalore, wrongly signed under the name of PW, and also outsourced the work to Lovelock & Lewes," said sources adding that investigations confirm that the entire auditing team at Satyam is from Lovelock & Lewes.
Good god. There's a lot to process so we'll have Dennis Howlett sum it up:
  • PWC were the auditors of record but didn’t do the work
  • PWC audit partners signed off
  • PWC received fees and then paid to an associate firm
  • [B]ut..they didn’t do the work
  • And, by implication are not therefore to blame AND Lovelock and Lewes are a PWC network consulting firm
Got that? Some might say (and by that we mean pretty much everyone) this might not be so good for P. Dub. Stay tuned.

PWC: ‘We didn’t audit Satyam’ [AccMan]
We didn't audit Satyam: PwC [Times of India]

Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.30.09

AP Source: 10 others to be charged in Madoff probe [AP via Miami Herald]

Only the Employed Need Apply
- You can never find a job when you need one. [WSJ via Clusterstock]

UK GDP fall/fail … biggest ever
- Well, since 1958. Almost ever. [FT Alphaville]

Dimon Still Polishing JPM Pay Packages
- Because it's about time bankers got paid like bankers again. [New York Post] Sphere: Related Content

Monday, June 29, 2009

Review Comments - 6.29.09

Dennis Kneale: "The Great Recession Is Over" - When will people at CNBC start getting fired for saying things like this? [Zero Hedge]

House Oversight Committe Requests The Honor Of Hank Paulson's Presence
- July 16th. Write it down. [DealBreaker]

AIG shareholders to elect new directors at meeting
- Our first question would be, "Who in their right mind..." [Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Additional Confirmation Why Getting Duped in India is Bad

Last month we told you about the two audit P. Dubya partners that are sitting in an Indian prison because they are accused of being complicit while Satyam just sorta made the numbers up.

You would figure that a couple of auditors spending a few months in prison would be able to make bail and end up on house arrest for their trial. Not so in India, friends.

The judge in the case, has denied bail for the two bean counters:
The court also felt that there is material evidence against the two auditors, who represent Price Waterhouse, for their involvement in the scam. The court also agreed that despite the availability of authenticated documents on various accounting issues in the company, the auditors chose to go by the documents provided by the Satyam management.
So, just in case you're keeping score at home, Allen Stanford may post bail in U.S. and two auditors in India (either crooked as the Satyam management or simply dimwitted, neither so flattering) are going to stay in the joint.

No bail for Satyam auditors: HC
[dnaindia.com] Sphere: Related Content

An Example of When You Should Really Consider the Interior Monologue

Sometimes things get said out loud that shouldn't. Sometimes it has to do with money. Sometimes it has to do with politics. Sometimes it has to do with a sleepover that involved your friend's incredibly hot and physically irresistible [insert family member here].

Here is a pretty good example of something you should probably keep to yourself if you're a Swiss Banker:
Yves Mirabaud, a managing partner at Swiss private bank Mirabaud, told the Financial Times that nothing was easier than dodging tax in the US and UK. In rare public comments, the Swiss private banker said: “There is a feeling in the banking community, and also in the population . . . that we are in an economic war. There is nothing easier than doing tax evasion in the US. Look at Delaware companies or trusts in the Channel Islands."
Now, we may be dead wrong on this but it sounds like Mr. Mirabaud is saying, "Dodging taxes in the US and UK is easy". If you think we're misinterpreting that, please let us know.

The whole downside to this type of candid comment is that if some IRS chaps get the itch, Mr. Mirabaud may find himself the recipient of an interrogation that may involve methods that would equate to a financial rectal exam.

Swiss declare war over tax evasion
[FT.com] Sphere: Related Content

KPMG Requiring Mandatory PTO

Word around the campfire is that all KPMG employees are being required to take PTO on Thursday of this week and next Monday. Friday is the observed holiday so employees will have a nice five day weekend. Hoo-RAH!

This has been a common cost cutting method for many firms, large and small and is probably immensely popular with employees. Except, of course, for you lovers of all things work out there. They can't stop you losers from working from home!

Anyone else out there from other firms being required to take a long weekend? Any Radio Station employees being told to ignore the mandatory PTO days? It has happened before...Let us know the sitch. Sphere: Related Content

Deloitte: Don't Trust Anyone

Working for an accounting firm is tough. Long hours, strict deadlines, boring co-workers, the stuff you're all used to.

Well now it's a whole new ball game. Accounting is so serious and the stakes are so high that paranoia has now overcome the bigwigs at Deloitte. The UK arm of the firm has set up a Corporate Counter Espionage Team to combat the risks posed to "brand reputation, competitive advantage and market growth."

Perhaps this new level of paranoia on the Big D's part is warranted. I mean, who among you has not seriously considered taking the steps of becoming a secret double agent and infiltrating another firm to get their secrets and client information?

Or maybe you just want to check another firms for potential hotties because you've gone too far with one too many co-workers and you're officially the firm bicycle?

Nevertheless, it appears that the Deloitte-period honchos are probably smoking some epic strains of ganja and then watching an Oliver Stone weekend marathon to rationalize getting CIA/MI6 types on the payroll.

Deloitte launches new counter-espionage team
[v3.co.uk] Sphere: Related Content

Madoff Sentencing Happening Circa Now!

Ten victims are expected to speak at the sentencing today and the Master de Ponz is expected to speak as well.

It's been a pretty entertaining 7 months since this whole movie of the week started back in December and this will effectively be the conclusion to a story that has involved rub n' tugs, humiliated rich wives, and a request for a 12 year prison term for ripping people off for an amount somewhere between $50 and $1 gajillion.

While you're waiting for the sentence to come down, jump over to DealBreaker and guess what the Bernster's sentence will be!

UPDATE, 9:42 MDT: Sentence of 150 Years. Ouch. Bernard Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years for Epic Swindle [Bloomberg] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.29.09

Madoff victims arrive at NY court - Vengeance will be served today and then victims will continue outraged and bitter or outraged and satisfied. Either result is warranted. Victims can always stalk Ruth on the F if they need additional venting time. [FT.com]

GE,GE Capital: Parting Company? - "The administration's proposals pose two main concerns for GE, of which much the greatest is the implication that GE Capital, the firm's vast finance arm, would be considered a "Tier 1" bank, meaning one that is so big and systemically important that it should be subjected to especially thorough scrutiny and tight controls. Restrictions on the industrial activities of such banks might force it and the rest of GE to part company." [CFO.com]

Bank of New York Mellon Faces More Write-Downs
-“'Yes, we will book further write-downs, but we will be able to handle them. The securitized mortgages on our books amount to $3 to $4 billion, which corresponds to only 2 percent of our balance sheet,' the bank’s chief executive, Robert Kelly, told Switzerland’s Finanz und Wirtschaft." Of course we can handle it. [DealBook/NYT] Sphere: Related Content

Friday, June 26, 2009

Review Comments - 6.26.09

Hartford takes $3.4 billion from TARP - Yawn. [Reuters]

Derivatives Tug of War Takes Shape
- "the derivatives industry has already started a public relations campaign claiming that it is helping businesses, particularly small ones, hedge their risks by devising custom derivatives and not requiring the customers to post liquid assets when they begin to lose money. They argue that forcing companies to put up cash when they gamble would take money away from the companies’ productive investments, and thus damage the economy." [Floyd Norris/NYT]

Buffett lunch auction nearing end
- Bid is at $810,000 so far to get some really good sexual analogies from a rich old guy. [BBC] Sphere: Related Content

Tchotchke Results!

Pretty decent results in our first ever Accounting Firm tchotchke contest. Good lists and suggestions but we could have used more pictures. No worries though. A couple here for your viewing pleasure:

Because accountants like challenges



KPMG Encore! The spotlight is an especially nice touch.



Comments from the original post here list some other shockingly cheesy items.

Jr. Deputy Accountant also made mention of Federal Reserve post-it notes which we allowed only because we think someone might be listening...

Thanks for playing. We'll make another run at a later date.
Sphere: Related Content

PwC Global Chairman Gets Grilled Over Satyam

Dennis Nally got sweated by the Indian Corporate Affairs Minister over the fraud that was missed by P Dub at Satyam Computer Services.

Luckily for you, 10-key Tramp had a fly on the wall and we've got some of the juicier bits for you here:

Corporate Affairs Minister:
Do you have any idea how serious this situation is?

Dennis Nally: I'd put it somewhere between cancer and heart attack.

CAM: Huh?

DN: Sorry, American joke.

CAM: What the hell was going on over there? Was anyone actually auditing anything? Why couldn't you find the fraud?

DN: I can't speak for the team specifically but I personally haven't audited anything since the early '90s. I'm not really sure about finding fraud. I don't think we have to do that.

CAM (with furrowed brow): What exactly do you do?

DN:
Well I mostly fly around the world and put duct tape on stuff since Sammy D. quit

CAM (seriously getting annoyed):
So can you tell us anything about this disaster?

DN: Couple dudes are in jail. I think one of them still wears his pocket protector every day.

CAM: Is there anything useful that you can tell us at all?

DN: It's customary to tip when you're in the United States. Waiters get really annoyed when foreigners stiff them.

CAM: Will someone get this guy out of here?

Khurshid asks PW for Satyam details [mydigitalfc.com] Sphere: Related Content

Counting to Ten Helped us From Completed Throwing a Conniption Over This

Our feelings have been made known, on several occasions, regarding the FASB's inability to get the stones to tell Congress that they need to butt the fuck out when it comes to accounting rules.

So when Bob Herz, the FASB Chair, makes speeches at the National Press Club saying, "The investing public expects and deserves unbiased and transparent financial information that is not skewed to favor particular transactions, companies or industries," we almost blow a gasket, because, um, "WHAT HAVE WE BEEN SAYING TO YOU BOB?!? HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING?"

The only thing that stops us is that maybe, just maybe, this is some super-duper double secret strategy to get the Sass from Mass and Maxine "Wait Until I Get My Hands On You, Goldman" Waters to step off from trying to boss around the Oracles of Double-Entry Accounting. Pipe dream? It's poss.

True, Herz and company would do well to take some lessons in snark, maybe courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant (who, we're sure would oblige), in order to give the give the big middle finger to Congress in person but I suppose baby steps are probably better than continued groveling.

FASB's Herz slams politicization of accounting
[Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Somehow This Happened...

Gazprom And State Of Nigeria Create JV Named "Nigaz" [Zero Hedge]

UPDATE: At the request of a reader, we'll throw our $0.02.

The Russians have never been ones for political correctness. Nigeria just wants money. It's a marriage made in heaven. Sphere: Related Content

Last Day for Tchotchke Submissions!


This will be the last day for possible submissions for Accounting Firm Tchotchkes. We've got a decent response so far but we'll take more! And yes, that is KPMG hand gel. Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.26.09

Man In Suit Slams Fist On Desk - Familiar for anyone? [The Onion]

Japan attacks Citigroup standards
- Who knew Citi had standards in the first place? [BBC]

UBS problems to remain after $3.5 billion capital hike
- "Investors welcomed UBS plans to raise 3.8 billion Swiss francs ($3.5 billion) of new capital but said the bank will not turn the corner until it stems client withdrawals and settles U.S. legal problems." UBS has had a rough week. Possibly naming names. Jefferies stealing employees. What's a Swiss bank to do? OH, I know. Take more sketchy non-American money. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review Comments - 6.25.09

UBS to unveil SFr3.8bn equity placement - "The move follows combative remarks from the Swiss National Bank last week, which made clear its unhappiness with the leverage ratios of the country’s big banks." [FT.com]

Nominees emerge for U.S. panel on Wall Street meltdown
- Congressional grandstanding. AIG. Lehman. Get your pointer finger ready. [Reuters]

TMZ: Michael Jackson Dead at 50
- Yes, we know this isn't relevant but it's big news. [TMZ via Vulture] Sphere: Related Content

SHOCKER: E&Y Puts Out a Top Ten List That Isn't Funny

Chris Rauber at the San Francisco Business Times is snarking about Ernst & Young's "Top 10 Global Business Risks for Big Multinationals". Two observations come to mind immediately:

1. Atrocious name
2. Letterman should only be allowed to designate anything as "Top 10"

If you read the list, you find that E&Y really went out of their to way to be, as Rauber points out numerous times, painfully obvious. Almost to the point that you wonder if they're having trouble thinking of stuff to put on the list. Next time a project of this nature comes around, try drinking three Red Bulls as fast as you can and follow that with some bumps in the bathroom.

Then get back to working a project like this. We would suspect you might get better (at least more interesting) results.

As if there isn't enough to worry about, Ernst & Young [Chirs Rauber/San Francisco Business Times] Sphere: Related Content

First American UBS Customer Charged with Tax Evasion Pleads Guilty

Steven Michael Rubenstein didn't pay taxes on his UBS assets from 2001 to 2007. IRS was not cool with that and he pleaded guilty today. He'll be sentenced on September 30 with a maximum sentence of three years. Talk about a vacation.

US accountant pleads guilty in UBS tax case
[AP via Miami Herald] Sphere: Related Content

Picture of the Day: Ruth Madoff on the F Train

Photo courtesy of the New York Post. Go there for a larger photo and to read the encounter the photog had with Queen de Ponz. Sphere: Related Content

Stanford Pleads Not Guilty

"Texas financier Allen Stanford pleaded not guilty on Thursday to federal criminal charges that he masterminded a $7 billion fraud." Silver lining: He looks pretty good in orange.

Turning to the sauce (but now on Ativan) to cope with the possibility of going to hell if he's wrong? Guilty as charged.

Allen Stanford pleads not guilty to fraud charges
[Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Live Blogging Ben Bernanke's Testimony Wrapping Up

Rep. "I'm from Baltimore" Cummings: I get it Ben. I get it man. But actually I'm confused. You say, you expressed concern about the MAC. You didn't believe that KL was up for the job. Yes or no?

Ben: That's not a yes or no answer Baltimore.

Baltimore Cummings: So he's just dumb when it comes to material...uh....MAC's? But then you said, "Ken I'm smarter than you, just do what I say"?

Ben: Basically.

Baltimore Cummings: Everyone in this room understands that KL was peeing his pants. Except for Kapture over there who only wants to talk about BlackRock. Would you want Paulson to use the Vietnamese water torture on Ken Lewis?

Ben: I didn't tell Mr. Clean to do anything. What did I say about repeating myself?

Rep. Clay is up now and he's sitting next to Pink Lady Watson which has got to be distracting. The dude needs some shades if he's going to be sitting next to her.

Clay: Are people better off when they're uninformed about a bank that was going down like the Titanic.

Ben: Probably.

Clay: Was it really necessary to save AIG? I mean, c'mon, really, was it?

Ben: Look man, I wasn't willing to go down the rabbit hole. This is not fucking Alice In Wonderland. I pulled the trigger. I'd rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way.

Ben is one cool dude. These questions are flying off of him like bullets off Superman. He finally unfolded his arms though so he might be cracking.

Rep. Fortenberry has some kind of gray Rod Blagojevich thing going on. He yields his time to Rep. "who's a liar" Burton, who barely gets the question in and Ben scoffs.

Rep. Welch: KL said Merrill was a good deal but just left out that little thing about the losses. When he does drop that tidbit, he says everything's cool because the Fed and the Treasury would have our backs. True or untrue?

Ben: Pretty much I guess.

Rep. Kanjorksi (?): Threats. Lies. Not sure I'm down with those words. I'm looking at you, Burton. Tell us how fucked up things were so people don't forget that we were on the brink.

Ben: Finally. Things were bad. Real bad. Not bad, like Michael Jackson, Bad. Like breadline bad. Like Mel Gibson/Mad Max, Kevin Costner/Waterworld/Postman, [enter other crappy apocolyptic movie here] bad.

Rep. Turner has voted against every bailout, thankyouverymuch. This guy is taking the opportunity to say that he introduced an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent the Federal Govt. from owning equity in a private company. There is no question coming....He wantsBernanke's thoughts on the Amendment. Of course.

Ben: Dude. You're out of your league. Failure is good but BIG FAILURE is not good. You've got to approach big failure like trying to get ahottie in the sack. Slow, controlled, methodical, and then SCORE! Or something like that.

UPDATE:Finally, they're wrapping up at 1:10 EDT. Issa and Burton win the grandstanding awards for this particular session. Both of them think Ben is a liar. Burton is going on about socialism and just feels like yelling at Ben.

Ben unfolds his arm to point back at Burton, so he's obv, pissed.

We're cutting out of this early. No chance for Maxine Waters gives us an out. Sphere: Related Content

Live Blogging Ben's Testimony Part II

Rep. Burton: Is Ken Lewis a liar?

Ben: In general or about the us telling him he would be out on his ass if he didn't close this deal?

Rep. Burton is mostly interested in whether people are liars or not. He's shuffling papers frantically because he's old and just woke up obviously.

Burton: I used to be the Chairman, thankyouverymuch and when people are lying, they don't remember stuff.

Ben: Fine. I don't recall.

Burton: Does Alvarez work for you?

Ben: Yes.

Burton: Are you his boss?

Awkward pause because, this question is obviously the same as the previous and is therefore idiotic.

Staffer awkwardly interrupts...and...time expires...Whew.

Foster asks two questions and is finished. Wow. Not expecting that.

Ben is such a gangsta, Last three responses:

1. Meeting was about an hour, yes.
2. I don't know
3. No.

NEXT!.

Rep. Jordan can't handle this.

Jordan: Can you see how this seems like you were giving the KL the Vietnamese water torture?

Ben: Not if you're an informed individual, which you're obv not.

Rep. Speer looks like she belongs on Housewives of New Jersey

She can't believe that Ben doesn't crunch the numbers himself and that doesn't know who did.

Ben: I don't carry a calculator around in my jacket pocket, contrary to popular belief.

Speer: SEC is involved aren't they?

Ben: Nah.

Speer: We're all one government aren't we?

Ben: They're on need to know basis. They didn't need to know.

Speer asks continues to ask questions that obv below Ben's paygrade and she looks continuely stumped by his responses. She yields the rest of her time because she has an appointment to get acrylics done.

Rep. Chaffetz of UT is not buying Ben's story.

Chaffetz: If I was Ken Lewis and you said that to me I would have pissed myself.

Ben: Yes. You would have.

Chaffetz is reading emails now and basically says Ben is a two-face.

Chaffetz: did you threaten them?

Ben: C'MON GUYS! LOOK AT THIS BEARD! DOES IT LOOK LIKE I WOULD THREATEN A PUGLE, LET ALONE KEN LEWIS, WHO IS MUCH MORE CUDDLY?

Rep. Connolly: Because for me, it's opposite day, I'm confused about who's threatening whom.

Connolly: Did you feel that should be telling the American people that if this deal didn't happen that the world would explode?

Ben: We put that on Ken, he has 24/7 liquid courage.

Connolly just wants to say that Ken Lewis is a gunslinger and Beard and Bald are the ones are the real victims here. GOSH.

The last Rep was incredibly yawn-worthy. Moving on...

Rep. Kaptur is the Maxine Waters of this committee: HERE. WE. GO.

Kaptur is talking about money creators, counterfeiters, BlackRock, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, is there a question in our future?

Kaptur: What year did something happen?

Ben: I don't know

Kaptur: Do you think it's important that you know?

Ben: Are you kidding me, lady? NO.

Kaptur: Well, I think it is. There could be Fed collusion (THERE IT IS!) with BlackRock. How can you assure us that there isn't?

Ben: You want the contracts? I'll give you the bloody contracts.

Kaptur: The contracts that are posted on your website have things missing, mysteriously, I might add.

Ben: We have a website?

Kaptur: BlackRock contracts are at the heart of this thing and I hope we can get to the bottom of this.

Ben looks appropriately confused.

Rep. Souder is talking about Asian flu and other things and gets scolded by Towns for not talking into the microphone. He mentions Bank of America, which is the first time it is brought up in the last 15 minutes. Tax dollars at work people, tax dollars at work.

Rep. Watson is PINK today for the big show. She's from L.A. so she might be channelling some Maxine Waters madness...She'll state questions and then you'll answer them Mr. Bernanke. No respect, no respect.

Watson: Do you think KL was suprised about the losses at Merrill?

Ben: How the hell would I know? I do know that he can drink enough to drown.

Watson: Was KL's threat to invoke the MAC for real?

Ben: Do I have a huge-ASS sign around my neck that says, "I LOVE REPEATING MYSELF"? Sphere: Related Content

Live Blogging Ben Bernanke's Testimony

We thought we might less this pass since it's being live-blogged all over the Web but then the questions started so we couldn't resisit.

Again, late in starting:

Ben gave his statement and is totally stonewalling Edolphous Towns's questions with one word responses.

Towns: FDIC said they aren't down with the BofA/Merrill Lynch, why did you blow them off? Are they not as smart as you?

Ben: We explained it to them and turns out they were actually cool with it. Similar what we did with KL

Issa's turn. He's the Bernanke/Nixonian conspiracy cover-up theorist.

Issa: Richmond Fed guy said there was pressure related to the MAC. Well?

Ben: Two things: 1.

Issa: Nevermind, I'll interrupt to give you some of my conspiracy theory.

Ben: Two things...

Issa: No, we're not finished. Did you want to fire them?

Ben: I never threatened KL, except after he said he didn't like my beard.

Issa: So it's true that you threatened him?

Ben: Can I finish my second point?

Issa: No. We don't have time.

Ben: Okayyyyyy

Issa is going on and on and on and on and on and on.

Issa isn't talking about the stability of the financial system. Who gives a damn about that Ben? I want to find out that you giving the Reservoir Dogs/Michael Madsen treatment to Ken Lewis!

Issa goes on for what seems like eternity and sums it up as: did you say do the deal or else?

Thank god Issa's time has expired.

Kucinich is spending his 5 minutes reading email. Questions are apparently not useful in his view.

Oh. Here's the question: did you have concerns about the deal?

Ben: Yes.

Ben looks thrilled to be there.

Kucinich: Do you supervise anything?

Ben: Yeah, a DQ in Princeton. Sphere: Related Content

Because We're Sick of the Poor People Hating on Us

Are you an investment banker that is sick of being demonized by the media, your family, the butler, your possibly cheating significant other (who, let's be honest, has a serious money-spending problem), or those no-nothing hicks in flyover country?

Well, fear not, lords of finance, Wall St.'s largest trade group, The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association is on this populist outrage nonsense because somebody has got to stand up and fight for you. "The plan targets policy makers and the media in New York, London, Washington and Brussels and calls for a 'city-by-city, grass roots' approach. "

See? They're even using populist words like "grass-roots", so that's definitely going to help get some of these poor people back on your side. Oh, and how will they "target policy makers" for you? Lobbyists, of course! Ones that used to work for Hank Paulson! For the bargain basement price of $70,000 a month. This is going to work great!

Wall Street Begins Campaign to Thwart ‘Populist Overreaction’
[Bloomberg] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.25.09

Holders of offshore bank accounts face deadline - "Thousands of U.S. residents and hundreds of corporations and trusts face an imminent deadline set by the federal government to disclose any bank or securities account in a foreign country or face hefty fines." [Denver Business Journal]

Fed faces cover-up claim on BofA merger
- Apparently, Bernanke = Nixon [FT.com]

AIG to Repay $25 Billion in Debt Through Unit IPOs
- It's a start. [WSJ] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Review Comments - 6.24.09

The Reaction To The Sanford Bombshell: Oh. My. God. - Pretty much. [NPR]

Goldman Sachs: "Engineering Every Major Market Manipulation Since The Great Depression" - The answer is no. Maxine Waters could not have possibly have done the research on this. [Zero Hedge]

Fed Leaves Policy, Rates Unchanged
- Beard def has his mind on stonewalling Congressional clowns tomorrow. [WSJ]

SEC Proposes Rules to Halt Money-Market Fund Losses
- [Bloomberg]

Geithner Email: Told BofA Couldn't Back Out Of Merrill Lynch Acquisition
- Uh oh, Timmy [Huffington Post via Zero Hedge] Sphere: Related Content

Those are as Good as Cash Sir

Signaling that California is slipping deeper into financial crisis, the state’s controller said Wednesday that his office would soon be forced to issue i.o.u.’s to scores of the state’s creditors, the first time since 1992, when 100,000 state employees were paid with them.

California to Pay Creditors With I.O.U.’s [New York Times] Sphere: Related Content

Let's Get Serious About This Whole Codification Thing

Earlier we told you about the FASB Codification that is rolling out next week. This is new to some of you because, well, you probably haven't left the office since before W. was still throwing keggers at the WH.

Because we're in a festive mood and we because we have about zilch interest in what the FASB has in mind for naming the new rules, we're inviting you, our brilliant readers to give some of your suggestions for the new rules.

For example, what will FAS 5, Accounting for Contingencies become? Our suggestion: Codification Rule #5 - Shit Hits the Fan Accounting.

Go! Sphere: Related Content

Deloitte Does Its Indian Practice a Favor, KPMG Not So Much

Citing conflict of interest, global accounting firm Deloitte has opted out of its assignment to restate Satyam s account, according to sources who spoke with UTVi's Arun Giri.
Satyam had awarded the work to two firms namely Deloitte and KPMG. Deloitte audits Mahindra and Mahindra accounts, and hence the conflict of interest.
KPMG will however continue with the restatement work, which is likely to take another four to six months.
Enjoy Radio Station India, you're flying solo.

Deloitte Opts Out of Satyam Assignment
[CXOtoday.com] Sphere: Related Content

Are You Ready For the Switch to FASB's Codification? You Don't Know What That Is?

We know our readers here at Tramp are on top of their shit. You all know that in one week the oracles of double-entry accounting roll out the FASB Codification. You're ready to rock out on this Codification.

"Tramp, WTF are you talking about" you say? You mean you haven't been anxiously awaiting the end of the likes of FAS 5 and FIN 46(R) as we know them? That's right my bean county friends. All this will be consolidated into what the FASB is deeming "Codification". Every shred of literature that makes up the Almighty God of your profession, generally accepted accounting principles, will be in one place.

Poppycock, you say? The FASB would never do something that would make our lives easier. It's true and apparently many don't even know about it:
The first surprise for some may be that this codification project is happening at all. Over 50% of 530 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers surveyed by Grant Thornton in late April said they didn't know about the rules restructuring, despite the fact that a preliminary version has been available for viewing and comment since January 2008.
You mean you've been too busy working to pay attention to this? You're right, 15 months really isn't long enough to get acquainted with something of this magnitude. Looks like you're not alone in that thinking. Now get the sleeping bags out at the office and get caught up. You've got a week.

Will the New FASB Code Change Accounting?
[CFO.com] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.24.09

Breaking News: S.C. Gov. Was In Argentina - "I wanted to do something exotic." Like some Argentinian tail? The wife is going to be asking questions, Governor [NPR]

Citigroup revamps pay structure
- "People close to the situation said Citi began informing staff on Tuesday of the new pay structure, which had been in the works for the past few months, telling some senior bankers their salaries could rise by up to 50 per cent this year." [FT.com]

JPMorgan tops strong bank list, RBS biggest loss
- Somewhere, Ken Lewis is smiling...and drinking. [Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review Comments - 6.23.09

Why did Schapiro hire Hu? - Perhaps because he can also look extremely stern in front of the American flag [Felix Salmon/Reuters]

Metro Was Warned Over Aging Fleet
- [NPR]

Only Guy Who Puts Paper In Copier Considers Himself A Hero
- [The Onion]

Intel and Nokia band together
- [BBC] Sphere: Related Content

The Very First 10-key Tramp Accounting Firm Tchotchke Contest

Because we here at 10-key Tramp are fans of low-brow entertainment we thought we'd post a bit of an experiment.

The online phenom known as eBay has more crap to collect than an army of homeless people could possibly accumulate in all their lifetimes.

So in the interest of relevance, Tramp has done some searching around the auction site, finding tchotchkes from your favorite accounting firms. We'll present a couple of our favorite items for each firm and then debrief.

PwC
PriceWaterHouseCoopers LADIES QUARTZ WATCH
PWC PRICEWATERHOUSE COOPERS LOGO TITLEIST GOLF BALL


KPMG
lot of 2 Mens cyle shirts by VOMAX kpmg MEDIUM M

1998 Winnipeg KPMG Labatt Brier Curling Sponsor Pin

PEZ Wrappers VÖGB, Raika, KPMG and Mc Donalds

Deloitte
PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG REP Lot 1 DELOITTE HEAVY Metal Pen
Deloitte & Touche Focus 2002 Laptop Bag

Ernst & Young
AGA Domain Ernst Young Lucite Paperweight Award
ERNST & YOUNG - 100 Best Companies 2007 T-Shirt MED New


BDO
New Mens ss NorthEnd golf shirt Large NWT Polyester BDO

Grant Thornton
Nothing.

Take aways
1. Grant Thornton and BDO you need to get better. Extremely disappointing.
2. The Radio Station wins for awesomest items, obv. Pez wrappers? Curling sponsor pin? No contest.
3. P Dubya is obv fancy-schmancy with the ladies watch but our guess you wouldn't want to meet any ladies wearing it.
4. Deloitte = BOR-ING
5. E&Y gets points for the lame paperweight but otherwise pretty Deloitte-ish

We know some of you have got to have some better/lamer/weirder tchotchkes. Please send photos, etc. and we'll post pics of the best ones.
Sphere: Related Content

DOJ Says There's No Deal with UBS

We told you earlier about UBS's plan to trade Toblerones for secrecy, but now the DOJ says we can't do that Dude, that fucks up our plan.

The story originally appeared in the yesterday's New York Times, according to a "U.S. official briefed on the matter".

Well today's Times definitely gives the impression that you can forget it:
Saying there was “no basis for the report,” Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, said in the statement, “While the department is always willing to consider settlement in any case, the suggestion that the department is planning to drop this suit is simply untrue. The department is continuing with the case against UBS and will file its brief asking the court to enforce the summons on June 30.”
Okay then. See you there.

Justice Department Denies Plan to Settle UBS Case
[New York Times] Sphere: Related Content

Figure This One Out

Once upon a time, the FASB assembled the Investors Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC) to provide investors' view on accounting rules written by the oracles in Norwalk. We're sure that seemed like a reasonable thing to do at the time.

What those wonks probably weren't counting on was the ITAC coming out and pretty much calling the FASB a bunch of lily-livered empty suits that will basically do whatever the likes of Barney Frank and Maxine Waters (oh, the fucking humanity) ask demand order them to do.

Reuters:
Citing a congressional hearing in March over mark-to-market accounting, the investor group said it had "grave concerns about what we believe to be a substantial erosion in the independence of the accounting standard setting process."

At the hearing, lawmakers told FASB Chairman Robert Herz to deliver new guidance on mark-to-market accounting within three weeks or face legislation changing the rule that had forced banks to write down billions of dollars in assets.

FASB bowed to pressure from Congress and the financial industry in early April by allowing banks more flexibility in valuing toxic assets.
In a twist of irony, members of the ITAC include Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Securities. Whose, we'll give credit reluctantly here, bigwigs have come out in support of mark-to-market but are certainly (we may be going out on a limb here) paying money to the American Bankers Association.

The short: We knew the FASB was spineless but now we've got Goldman and J.P. Morgan types calling them out even though they likely pay lobbyists who were fighting against FAS 157.

Let's us know if you get this shitshow to make any sense.

Investor group says FASB's independence has eroded
[Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Madoff's lawyer asks for 12-year prison term

From the AP:

A lawyer for Bernard Madoff has told the judge who will sentence the disgraced financier that a prison term of 12 years would be fair.

Attorney Ira Sorkin says such a sentence will not disproportionately punish his client compared to other white collar criminals.

Federal Judge Denny Chin is scheduled to sentence Mr. Madoff next Monday.

The 71-year-old Madoff pleaded guilty March 12. He admitted operating a massive Ponzi scheme. He faces up to 150 years in prison.

Dozens of Mr. Madoff's victims have already urged the judge to make sure Mr. Madoff spends the rest of his life in prison.

Mr. Madoff has been jailed since pleading guilty to 11 felony counts including securities fraud and perjury.

Complete and utter outrage to ensue in 3...2...1... Sphere: Related Content

UBS May Not be Naming Names

Because, seriously, who can resist the sexiness of a Swiss bank?

The Department of Justice is considering dropping its civil case against the super-secret behemoth bank, that would possibly force UBS to disclose 52,000 names of American clients. Considering the history of the Swiss banking system, this would be a little awk.

The trial is still on schedule for July 13th, so don't get too comfortable, rich folk with shady means of income.

No comment from either UBS or the DOJ but this isn't really anything that a pallet full of Toblerones couldn't solve.

Justice Deptartment may drop UBS tax evasion case: report
[Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.23.09

Train Crash in Washington Kills 7 - "At least seven people were killed and at least 75 injured when one Metro subway train slammed into another on the outskirts of the city during the afternoon rush hour on Monday, emergency officials said." [New York Times]

Iran's top electoral body rules out vote annulment
- "Iran's top electoral body said Tuesday it found 'no major fraud' and will not annul the results of the presidential election, closing the door to a do-over sought by angry opposition supporters alleging systematic vote-rigging." [Washington Post]

Reuters to end its London listing - "One major shareholder said that the decision was linked to the London shares being cheaper in London than on other markets. 'The fact that the stock is irrationally undervalued in London is putting a drag on the value of the stock in New York and Toronto,' said Todd Bourell, a partner at hedge fund ValueAct Capital, which owns 12 million Thomson Reuters shares." Imagine that. A hedge fund who thinks a long investment is undervalued. [BBC]

Stock futures point up as Moody's says U.S. rating safe
- WHEW! Thanks Moody's! Your timing is impeccable as usual. [Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Monday, June 22, 2009

Review Comments - 6.22.09

Lost And (Apparently) Found: The Strange Case Of Mark Sanford - Dude doesn't even talk to his kids on Father's Day? [NPR]

Steve Jobs quietly returns to Apple
- We wouldn't say quietly. [FT.com]

Investor’s Widow Says Madoff Murdered Husband
- We're staying out of this one. [DealBook/NYT] Sphere: Related Content

E&Y Layoffs

Confirming last week's Wild Speculation Wednesday, comments elaborate on the layoffs at E&Y. Sounds like many were on visas (classy, E&Y) and the axed got four weeks of severance, which seems to be the norm among the Big 4.

Any more tips or rumors, please pass them along. Sphere: Related Content

Trend of Fewer Corporate Tax Audits Likely to Come to a Dead Stop

It appears that Corporate America has come to appreciate the joy in paying taxes because the IRS isn't doing as many corporate audits, according to a report put out by the agency.

It is pretty hard to picture the IRS being marginalized under a Republican administration but, "The IRS's enforcement staff has been whittled down in recent years, a response to fervent complaints by some U.S. lawmakers critical of what was characterized as aggressive tax collection."

We're curious as to what normal tax collection would be like. Or better yet, what about passive tax collection? Would IRS agents show up with fresh baked cookies and suffix all their requests with, "pretty please with sugar on top"?

It's a nice thought but with the Obama Administration proposing to double the IRS enforcement budget, the financial anal probes will likely be out there en masse. This is your warning tax scofflaws!

U.S. corporate tax audits down 9 percent: IRS report
[Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Finally, the U.S. Open is Over

In what amounts to a predictable finish, KPMG Phil Mickelson has finished second for the fifth time at the U.S. Open. That's more bridesmaid finishes than any other golfer in history.

Personally, we chalk it up to not breaking out of the fashion slump that Phil seems to be in. White on black hats or black on white just aren't working man. Spend some of that money on a fashion consultant or something. Rock a pink hat to support your wife, you know, something.

Regardless of today's disappointment, as we reported earlier, the Radio Station will stand continue to stand by him, because who cares about winning? Sphere: Related Content

Because We Got Ourselves Into This, We'll See it to the End

Getting sick of golf updates?

Mick ended yesterday's third round at -2 but is currently Even for the tournament through 8 holes in today's final round.

That puts him in seventh place, five shots behind the no-name leaders. The firm on his hat remains in fourth position.

UPDATE 10 AM MDT: Phil is now tied for the lead at -4. Radio Station employees are apparently watching the Open as opposed to learning about the changes to FAS 157. Sphere: Related Content

KPMG: As the Fourth Best Accounting Firm, We Will Maintain Our Commitment to Settling for the Second Best Golfer

A source within the Radio Station that is at national training this week dropped us a quick tidbit that came out of an invigorating Q&A:

Has the economic environment affected our sponsorship of Phil Mickelson?

Let that sink in...

We imagine the response went something like this:

We will not allow these tough times to force us into a situation where we have to give up paying a famous athlete millions of dollars to wear dull hats with our name on them. We have gone to great lengths to fire enough people, eliminate color copies, force partners to fly coach, etc. so that we may continue our relationship with Phil.
Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.22.09

Iranian Guards Warn Protesters of Confrontation - "The warning, on the Guards’ Web site, was issued despite an admission by Iran’s most senior panel of election monitors that the number of votes cast in 50 cities exceeded the actual number of voters, according to a state television report two days after the country’s supreme leader pronounced the ballot to be fair." Could potentially affect 3 million ballots. Can we get some auditors involved? [New York Times]

"Workplaces," "Paychecks," And "Jobs," A Nostalgic Look Back At A Vanishing Part Of The American Landscape - [The Onion]

Goldman Sachs on pace for record bonuses: report
- Cue pitchforks. [Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Your Sunday Update On Phil Mickelson's Hat

The important stuff first: Back to white on black hat today for Mick. The white letters are probably easier to see when there aren't any clouds. Oh, and if anyone cares, he's still -1, Even for the third round, through 14 holes. That's eight shots back of the leader, who no one, even golf geeks, has apparently heard of. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tramp Weekend: KPMG Lefty Update

He's still -1 after the 2nd round, not that anyone is paying attention. Phil is quite the fashion-forward duffer rocking the white hat with black KPMG logo to finish his second round. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review Comments - 6.19.09

Gillette ads promote closer shave - Because once you start shaving below the neck, you can't stop. [FT.com]

Mad Max Is Back At It
- Maxine. Waters. Talking. [DealBreaker]

Crap marketing campaign of the day, Merrill Lynch edition
- No bull. [Felix Salmon/Reuters] Sphere: Related Content

Redneck Said, Beard Said

Because we can't resist a good grandstanding session, we're putting everyone on notice to set the TiVo for The Beard's testimony next Thursday in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

No, Maxine Waters is not on this committee. Yes, we too are disappointed by that fact.

What we are looking forward to is Ben pretty much lying his bearded ass off about how he didn't encourage Paulson (during a bike ride we'll remind you) to "make it happen" via scaring the coveralls off Ken Lewis.

Awaiting Bernanke, House Panel Subpoenas Fed
[DealBook/NYT] Sphere: Related Content

U.S. Open Update

P. Mick shot -1 for his opening round. No word on whether Tim Flynn was caddying.

Sidenote: this photo was taken after the Radio Station minions wheeled out Phil's cash. Sphere: Related Content

We Hate to Admit it...

Sometimes, just when you think the blog gods have smiled sweetly upon you, disappointment occurs.

The latest victim of the PCAOB's version of the public rectal exam was a Tramp fave, KPMG.

But to the disappointment of the Tramp, the Radio Station didn't really fare that bad compared to the lashings that were received by the Big D, E&Y, and McGladrey.

The PCAOB, in its infinite wisdom, stated that "KPMG did not show enough skepticism toward clients last year". What did they use to measure the skepticism shown, a Rolatape? They went on to say that in one instance the firm was "shy an appropriate amount of internal controls testing".

Have you ever done internal control testing? I'd only wish a fate of that magnitude on the likes of Dick Cheney. Of course someone is going to be shy the appropriate amount of testing. Had they continued to the "appropriate amount" there certainly would have been mass suicide on engagement teams.

No auditor is perfect, Peek-at-boobs, so making mountains out of molehills in this case won't fly with us.

Nicely played Radio Station. You've earned this one.

KPMG Should Be Tougher on Testing, PCAOB Finds
[CFO.com] Sphere: Related Content

Day 365

Before everyone gets started on their early Happy Hour, a quick note that the 10-key Tramp began its snarky journey one year ago today, June 19, 2008.

Now, we're not ones to toot our own horn but...we are.

So, we fully intend on spreading rumors and spewing vitriol as long as you all enjoy it.

Thanks for reading. Sphere: Related Content

This California Thing is About to Get Serious

Yes, we know it should be red and not green...

California is in trouble. How much? Better-late-than-never rating agency, Moody's is about to smack the state with a downgrade.

Zero Hedge:

A downgrade of Cali would set off a chain of events, that will not only trash the ratings of virtually all other states, resulting in a skyrocketing of the MCDX, and major pain for associated index arbs, but also impair insurance companies directly and indirectly, with a final outcome likely being comparable to the Lehman blow up, however more protracted and, ultimately, more pronounced. And instead of confronting the problem head on and possibly finding way to resolve the state funding crisis before it is too late, the administration, day in and day out, keeps its head in the sand, pretending that things are getting better when in fact the economy is collapsing. In three months, when California "pays" all its vendors with IOUs and state refunds are indefinitely delayed into the next decade, any mention of 'green shoots' with just come from Dick Bove, who will likely issue a Strong Buy rating on Sacramento despite "horrific" mass hysteria and bands of roving Mad Max copycats coasting along I-5 at 120 mph in nitrous-retrofitted China-made Hummers.

Empahsis ours. ZH is a tad on the wordy side (not a bad thing), so I'll summarize. California gets downgraded, Lehman-esque reaction in the markets, every man, woman, and child for themselves.

A parade should cheer everyone up though.


California Soon To Get Junked By Moody's [Zero Hedge] Sphere: Related Content

Please Let There Be a Media Circus of a Trial. PLEASE

Obviously, our favorite news of the day is the surrender of everybody's second-favorite Ponzi mastermind, Allen Stanford.

Stan-the-Man trumps Bernster in our minds for one key reason however: constantly maintaining his innocence. It's one thing to tattoo "fuck it" on your forehead and quite another thing to say, "you all can get fucked".

Stan has already promised to jump into the lake of fire if his business is a Ponzi scheme and has been itching like Courtney Love to turn himself in, so we can get this show on the road.

But his attorney has made the strongest argument:

"'Allen Stanford was not running a fraudulent operation,' Mr. DeGuerin said. He added that, 'the S.E.C. has done more damage to Stanford investors' than Mr. Stanford could have possibly done himself."

Gotta say, the man may have a point.

Regardless, here we are, we've got our big Texas showdown. Between the drug informants, money laundering, and some strange methods of attracting investors, we're watching this one until the bittersweet end.

Texas Financier and Antiguan Official Indicted in Fraud
[New York Times]

UPDATE: Dude is appearing in court, circa now.

UPDATE 2, 2:33 MDT: DealBreaker. Possible 375 years. Meh. Sphere: Related Content

BDO Int'l Skates, Leaves BDO Seidman to Deal with $520M Verdict

Believe it or not friends, the wedding planner defense worked for BDO International Global Coordination.

As Tramp speculated, the six-person South Florida jury seemed to relate more to "wedding planning" than "public duty" and found that BDO International Global Coordination was not liable for either the punitive damages of $350M or the compensatory damages of $170M.

BDO is certainly a benefactor of the "jury of your peers" in this case considering that the peers have no clue what the hell any of the evidence meant or why it pointed to BDO International Global Coordination's responsibility. Re: The Auditors has excellent coverage including video clips. Go here and here.

During the trial, defense counsel went so far to state that the the claim by the Plaintiff that the firm had a "public duty" was a SIDESHOW. Want to know what comes at the very top of a Google search when you type in "sideshow"? We were hoping for the human blockhead or the bearded woman, but instead it was this.

So now BDO Seidman is on the hook for the $520M. They've said that these damages will bring double entry apocalypse. But they're appealing the original verdict, and why the hell not? They seem to be pretty good at dodging bullets. Oh wait, they're not the same firm. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

PISS OFF.

Jury: BDO International not liable for millions in losses
[Miami Herald] Sphere: Related Content

Oh, Them? The FASB? Yeah, Don't Pay Any Attention to Them

In a move that, once again, shows that when the U.S. Government wants the FASB to just shut up and do what it's told, the Feds are asking for a single set of accounting standards by the end of 2009.

This after somebody the Chairman of the FASB stated via dis song that it would be 10-15 years until convergence would occur.

In a vaguely written article at Accountancy Age, a "white paper" states that "convergence of its Generally Accepted Accounting Principles with the International Financial Reporting Standards will help 'revive' the financial system in the US."

First of all, we'd love for someone to explain just exactly how one uniform set of accounting standards will act as as a defibrillator for the entire economy and second, yes, it's all about us, Team America getting revived, thankyouverymuch.

US wants progress on single set of standards
[AccountancyAge] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping - 6.19.09

Indicted, Texas Financier Surrenders - No rush guys. Really. [New York Times]

Galactic Sex, Ducasse Food Entice Astronauts: A. Craig Copetas
- Which will inevitably lead to porn in space. [Bloomberg]

Bailed-out banks' CEOs used jets for personal use: report
- And a fully stocked bar for Ken Lewis, natch. [WSJ via Reuters]

The Top 10 Political Sex Scandals of the Last Decade
- Because it's fun. [FamousDC via Reason] Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review Comments 6.18.09

Madoff Said to Meet With S.E.C. Official - Swapping reach around technique, I'm sure. Seriously, because who's getting it more than Madoff and the SEC? [Dealbook/NYT]

Another Reminder of Our Pending Doom
- We can always use one more...[City Room/NYT]

Mafia blamed for $134bn fake Treasury bills
- "Officials...were nonplussed." Is that the right word? [Financial Times]

Tim Geithner Talks Back
- [Daily Intel] Sphere: Related Content

Sweet Cold Justice

Maybe, just maybe, a judge in Birmingham was trying to make a point when he ordered Richard Scrushy to pay $2.876 Billion to the shareholders of HealthSouth Corp.

Scrushy was acquitted of criminal charges back in 2005, that alleged that he was the puppet-master of the accounting hocus-pocus going on at the company.

Scrushy appears to be taking similar steps to that of everybody's favorite acquitted killer O.J. Simpson.

Step 1 - Be acquitted of criminal charges

Step 2
- Be found liable in civil proceeding and be ordered to pay a metric asston of cash you don't have

Step 3 - Move to Florida because, somehow, if you're found liable and you live in FLA, you don't have to pay shit.

Step 4 - Hold up/kidnap some people who have your stuff because you need to sell it because you're still getting hounded by the people you owe a metric asston of cash to.

Step 5 - Be found guilty of holdup/kidnapping and be sentenced to the rest of your scofflaw days in jail

Scrushy's already serving seven years for an unrelated bribery case but we think the trail has been blazed for a more appropriate conclusion.

Scrushy Found Liable in HealthSouth Shareholder Suit
[WSJ (subscription required)]

Judge orders Scrushy to pay $2.9B to shareholders
[Miami Herald] Sphere: Related Content

Follow-up on Big 4 Lawsuits Re: Overtime

Tramp has obtained an announcement made to KPMG employees regarding overtime lawsuits, originally mentioned here two weeks ago.

Quoting the announcement:

These lawsuits were filed by several of our former professional employees ("Plaintiffs") and allege that all of KPMG's associates and senior associates were improperly classified as salaried, or "exempt" employees (who do not receive overtime pay), and that they instead should have been classified as "non-exempt" employees and paid overtime. Among other things, the Plaintiffs are seeking back overtime pay and other monetary awards.

[We] want you to know that we work very hard to be an employer of choice and believe we have classified and paid our professional employees appropriately. Consequently, we have denied the claims asserted in the lawsuits, and we are actively engaged in defending against them.

The Plaintiffs are seeking to certify the cases as class actions, on behalf of all current and former associates and senior associates nationwide, as well as within certain specified states. If the courts grant the Plaintiffs' request that the cases be certified as class actions, then some of you may be potential class members, in which case you would have the right, at a future date, to determine whether you want to participate in the cases.

The "work very hard to be an employer of choice" part sounds sincere desperate because, oh, I don't know, there's lots of KPMG employees out there that were/are being treated like two-bit whores. Tramp predicts that this class action thing will get the go ahead and lots of people will be getting calls from big shot law firms.

So far, Tramp has not received any communicado on lawsuits affecting the other Big 4, so please pass along anything you may know.
Sphere: Related Content

CORRECTION

Contrary to popular belief, blogs, on occasion, get their facts wrong. 10-key Tramp is no exception.

Thanks to a vigilant reader that we'll call "Bill", we've learned that Phil Mickelson actually played last week in the St. Jude's Classic. We originally published that this week's U.S. Open was his first tournament back. Tramp regrets the error.

But like we mentioned, we don't follow golf, so def a forgivable mistake. Moving on... Sphere: Related Content

Always a Bridesmaid: The #4 Accounting Firm's Investment in the #2 Golfer

We here at 10-key Tramp are not golf fans. It's not a terribly compelling sport in our opinion. Stuffy misogynists walking around in plaid pants with mismatched striped shirts doesn't do it for us. The reasons we got out of public accounting probably has similar roots in why we quit playing golf.

Nevertheless, what is compelling is that KPMG pays Phil Mickelson a lot of money but one has to wonder if the Radio Station is pleased with the production of their multi-million dollar investment.

P. Mick has won four times since donning the Radio Station logo but nothing too meaningful. No Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, or PGA Championship titles.

Today is the first round of the U.S. Open and Mickelson's first tournament since his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, so Tramp might soften this one time, and root for Phil. We'd like to promise round-by-round updates on how the hat looks on Phil's head, if he is surrounded by scantily-clad KPMG sponsored babes, etc. but let's be honest, we'll just let you know on Sunday if he won. Sphere: Related Content

Who Chose this Headline?

An Intimate Evening With Eliot Spitzer [Forbes] Sphere: Related Content

Scoping 6.18.09

Banks Brace for Fight Over an Agency Meant to Bolster Consumer Protection - “'The argument for doing that is you’ll have an agency that’s only focused on protecting consumers,' said Donald G. Ogilvie, chairman of the Deloitte Center for Banking Solutions. 'The argument against that is you’ll have an agency that’s only interested in protecting consumers.'" Translation: This is going to get ugly. [New York Times]

Eddie Bauer Files for Bankruptcy
- Chapter 11 reorg. will allow the retailer to continue selling faux-outdoor gear to consumers who are faux-outdoor enthusiasts. [New York Times]

Wells Fargo CEO: TARP is "great investment"
- Did anyone out there get a dividend check yet? Anyone? ANYONE? - [Denver Business Journal]

This Is Why California Is Not Getting Bailed Out
- [DealBreaker] Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New President for RSM McGladrey

H&R Block announced a new President of its wholly owned subsidiary, RSM McGladrey, today, Charles Elliot "C.E." Andrews.

C.E. (please submit your much more interesting names, e.g.: CPA Extraordinaire) started his career at Arthur Andersen and remained with them until the bitter, bitter, bitter end.

He then joined Sallie Mae where he was served as Executive VP of Accounting and Risk Management, CFO, President and then CEO until joining McGladrey. He currently serves on the board of directors of Six Flags, Inc., NVR, Inc., and U-Store-It Trust.

Let's recap:
  1. Goes by a strange combination of initials
  2. Worked for nearly 30 years at the firm best known for its death
  3. Boss at a GSE that could potentially end up like its other GSE relatives
  4. Sits on the board of directors of an amusement park company that just declared bankruptcy, a homebuilder/lender, and relatively small storage company
Yeah. Should go fine.

Andrews named as president of RSM McGladrey
[Kansas City Business Journal]

H&R Block Names New President of RSM McGladrey
[RSM McGladrey Press Release] Sphere: Related Content