Robert Ricketts, Texas Tech University and Rawls College of Business accounting department chairman, invited me to speak at his school last April. Here’s a link to the presentation, an excerpt and some additional comments on recent news.
It’s important for the integrity of the capital markets to assign individual responsibility for audit failures. We need to see the key partners’ names and their career histories because recidivist partners are hiding behind the firms which are very good at dodging general liability.
I’m writing for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Capital Ideas magazine and blog now, too. The purpose is to highlight faculty research.
I noticed a small little thing in one of the first stories about Scott London. As I tried to research and write about it, I waited for someone else to pick up on it. (No one else did.) Scott London seems to have subverted the intent of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 203 that requires lead engagement partner rotation off engagements to promote objectivity, independence and professional skepticism.
This is the fourth big insider trading case in the least few years against a senior tenured partner that betrayed the public’s trust. In none of the cases did the firm’s “extensive” and “comprehensive” independence compliance programs spot the behavior or the illegal actions. Stay tuned. There will be much more to this story, I guarantee.
Zynga and Facebook play out their drama in public, much to the detriment of investors who can’t leave the party early before glasses start breaking.
I appeared July 17 on Chicago Tonight, a nightly news program produced by WTTW, Channel 11, the public television station in Chicago. The show is hosted by Phil Ponce, a very interesting guy who was really good at wrangling the three cats on this panel. I was joined by John Lothian and Professor Laura Pincus-Hartman of […]
I’ll be covering the Compliance Week Annual Conference in Washington D.C. next week June 4-6, 2012 at the Mayflower Hotel. The venue alone is worth the price of the ticket! This year I will also be moderating/hosting several panels. See you there!
The next time something goes terribly wrong at a Berkshire Hathaway company, there’s a strong possibility no one will hear about it. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger won’t be held directly responsible either. That’s the beauty of Buffett’s version of a conglomerate corporate structure, decentralized to such an obscene level such that its minimalism is brandished as a feature not a bug.
I’ve recently written two pieces for Forbes.com and my column, Accounting Watchdog about Wall Street and criminality. Here are two stories about Wall Street criminals and those that defend them.
Stanford University Graduate School of Business Professor David Larcker and his research associate, Brian Tayan, have developed a case study on the recent David Sokol – Berkshire Hathaway corporate governance slip-up. They emphasize, “The success of this system is predicated on the expectation that Berkshire Hathaway managers operate with high levels of integrity.” I don’t think Berkshire Hathaway’s leadership defines corporate governance the way everyone thinks they do. The bigger question is: Should that matter to their investors or anyone else?
On the way to writing this story, I realized some disturbing things about Berkshire Hathaway and how Buffet runs it. So anxious are some to annoint gurus, sages, and oracles, that they overlook some of the worst corporate governance practices I have ever seen. And Buffett’s Berkshire doesn’t like to be told how to do its accounting, either. I’m writing about that next for Forbes.