At American Banker: Auditors Give Banks a Pass on Reserves

My column at American Banker last week focused on the latest PCAOB inspection report for KPMG. We’ve got three more “Big Four” inspections reports to come – Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PwC. Don’t be surprised if you see the same focus on loan loss and repurchase reserves and the same kinds of auditor deficiencies.

Jeff Connaughton’s “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins” – A Book Review

Jeff Connaughton’s new book, “The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins”, is a must read during the Presidential election season.

A Response to Reuters on Internal Audit and Banks

Reuters has a story out today entitled, “Regulators tighten up bank in-house checks.”

Unfortunately it does nothing, in fact it distorts, the role of internal audit, external audit and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors in a bank.

Big Four Auditors and Jury Trials: Not In The U.S.

You have to go outside of the US to see a trial of a Big Four audit firm to know what I’m talking about. Australia’s Centro case against PwC or Canada’s Nortel case where Deloitte partners testified recently tell you everything you need to know about why the Big Four will settle every time. Rather than have a jury and the public hear and see the pathetic state of the audit profession, its inability to stop executives who want to cheat, and its unwillingness to acknowledge liability as a firm when it screws up, the firms will reach into their seemingly bottomless pockets and pay up.

When Is A Hedge Not A Hedge? The Accounting For JP Morgan’s Bet

Yesterday’s column at American Banker digs into the accounting for JP Morgan’s reported “hedge”. I was shocked – OK, not really – that no main stream media outlet had explained the stunning announcement made by Jamie Dimon last Thursday.

Aubrey McClendon Pigs Out: Chesapeake Energy’s Hidden Loans

Chesapeake Energy’s auditor is PricewaterhouseCoopers. The auditor is paid lass than $3 million to prepare an opinion on this challenging company. Sometimes you can be paid too little to be sufficiently skeptical…

Are Auditors Reporting Fraud And Illegal Acts? The SEC Knows But Isn’t Telling

There are still many unanswered questions about how and why the financial crisis frauds occurred. New frauds, such as the Chinese reverse merger frauds, took advantage of a public listing loophole that the SEC and auditors missed. All these investor losses occurred under the supposedly watchful eyes of auditors, who are paid dearly to protect shareholders but in many cases are either complicit, incompetent, or both.

Update: Mortgage Servicer Foreclosure Review Process

I was the first to report on December 6 the irony of Deloitte having been selected by, of all banks, JP Morgan Chase. The high likelihood of a conflict between the bank and the audit firm, and possibly the individual Deloitte partners assigned to the JP Morgan Chase review, should have been obvious to anyone at the OCC. It turns out I was right.

At Deloitte, More Pain Before Any Quality Gain

re: The Auditors has seen a confidential, internal Deloitte training document, prepared this past summer, that reveals the firm expects the worst when the inspection reports for their 2009, 2010, and 2011 audits are published by the PCAOB. Is Deloitte truly committed to a sea change in tone as well as technique? I’m not convinced.

Rogue Traders, Rogue Firms: The CME, PwC, MF Global and the Legacy of Refco

Let’s not forget PricewaterhouseCoopers, MF Global’s auditors.

When it comes to hands-on access to private information, the auditor has more than any other regulator mentioned. And they are supposed to be experts in that client’s business and in the accounting and auditing standards for that industry. PwC also audits JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs. They are all large players in the futures brokerage industry.

MF Global: Where Is The Missing Money?

Almost everyone wondering where the missing MF Global customer assets have gone thinks they will show up eventually. I believe the assets are long gone.

A Closer Look At Clawbacks

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and Dodd-Frank’s clawback provision both require a restatement. The restatement of financial results to correct material errors – whether those errors occurred by default or by design – is a necessary condition for enforcing both the Sarbanes-Oxley Section 304 provision and the new Dodd-Frank law.