Posts

You’ll Never Eat Lunch… A Review of “This Town” By Mark Leibovich

Mark Leibovich’s “This Town” is billed in the flap copy of the dust jacket as “a blistering, stunning —and often hysterically funny— examination of our ruling class’s incestuous ‘media industrial complex.’” Does anyone still eat lunch with him? In the new 24-7 news cycle, the half-life of any criticism of DC culture is about three days.

Auditors and the Financial Crisis: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

This is the text of my speech for the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Conference last Friday. The theme of this year conference was “The Institutional Foundation of Capitalism”. Our special session was entitled ‘The New Financial Architecture after Financial Crisis’.

SEC’s Final Pay Rules Coming Any Day: Will They Be Enough To Level Playing Field?

Senator Robert Menéndez [D-NJ], author of the Dodd-Frank pay ratio disclosure rule, didn’t take “not yet” for an answer when SEC Chair Mary Jo White testified before the Senate Banking Committee in late July a year ago. Menendez told White: “I’ve been waiting for several years now.” (Me, too!)

University of Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Magazine: Two New Articles

I have two articles in the University of Chicago Booth Capital Ideas Magazine Summer 2014 issue. One is about bank monitoring of private company financials and the other is about bank stress test disclosure. Their cover story, “Think you’re not a racist?” is also worth a close read.

Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Are Back: More “Adjustments”, More Calls For Reform

“If accounting errors were felonies in California, Fannie Mae would already be serving life under Three Strikes.” That’s what GoingConcern.com said. See what I told TheStreet.com about Fannie Mae’s latest multi-billion dollar “adjustments”.

An e-Book: Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway: Corporate Governance and The Sokol Affair

This compilation covers the period from April 4 – when the David Sokol scandal hit – to May 3, 2011 when I attended the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Guest Post From Eric Starkman: The “Unvarnished” Truth About General Motors

GM is in trouble again and this time it’s worse than some weak internal controls or even a bankruptcy. Cost cutting may have discouraged the prompt replacement of faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 fatalities and the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Are you still glad we bailed the company out?

All The Auditors Are Above Average: Jay Hanson Allergic To “Audit Failure”

Should audit and auditor failure be solely defined by identified material misstatements that result in restatements, and internal control failures? I don’t think so but Jay Hanson, PCAOB Board member, said so recently.

Guest Lectures At Stanford Graduate School Business

My notes for guest lectures (there were two sections, back-to-back) February 10, 2014 for Bus F332/Law 725, Finance and Society, at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, taught by Professor Anat Admati. Emphasis: The auditors’ role in corporate governance in financial institutions and specifically how auditors not inadvertently stifle the actual use of compensation clawbacks.

New Work Appearing At Al Jazeera Online

Two new pieces, on ethics and investor protection, at Al Jazeera America Online.

GlaxoSmithKline Keeps Name of PwC Lead Engagement Partner Under Wraps

Does the PCAOB’s proposal on naming lead audit partners for US listed issuer audits contemplate any exemptions? No, but they do exist in the jurisdictions that say they hold lead audit partners accountable.

Winning! PwC Argues Both Sides Of The Partner Naming Debate

How do the audit firms keep winning the war while losing battles left and right? They use the law and the courts to delay, deter and distract from transparency by settling, and sealing what they can, before the public can find out what silly arguments they often make in their defense.