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.
Who has the last word on audit quality and compliance with GAAP and SEC filing requirements for US-listed foreign companies? If you were hoping it was the US audit firm, you’ll have to prove your case in court.
BLBG publishes the Advocate for Institutional Investors, a quarterly newsletter which contains reporting and analysis of the latest securities and corporate law issues. The Advocate often features articles by the management and general counsel of some of the largest public pension funds in the country, as well as some of the nation’s premier securities litigators. This Spring the magazine also features my writing on the subject of private litigation against audit firms.
What’s different about this Chinese fraud lawsuit is that it names a US Big Four firm as a defendant. Not only has that not been done before but the US firms have traditionally been able to insulate themselves fairly successfully from frauds that happen abroad. It’s that global network “thang”.
I was in New Orleans this past long Martin Luther King Day weekend to speak at the American Accounting Association Auditing Section Midyear Conference. Here are my slides and text of my remarks.
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.
The post below was originally published at Forbes.com on August 22, 2011. Given the SEC’s recent actions against Deloitte Shanghai regarding the firm’s unwillingness to provide audit workpapers for their former client Longtop, I thought it was helpful to make sure you saw it.
Sarbanes-Oxley was supposed to end financial scandals once and for all. Will Dodd-Frank succeed where it failed? My OpEd for Boston Review is online today, Monday, August 22, 2011.
I was recently interviewed for the radio show, Background Briefing, and the segment, “Auditing the Auditors,” that aired Sunday August 14th in Australia. The transcript and a podcast are available. I get the last word in response to a defense of the auditors by John Hempton re: the Chinese reverse merger scandals.
There’s one thing about litigation that everyone agrees on. Anything can, and sometimes does, happen.
I spoke at the Fifth Annual Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference on June 2. My presentation, “The Skeptical Professional: Requirements and Case Studies,” was given on Thursday morning and I had a full house.
It was a quiet almost-end to a sordid chapter in PwC’s history. Last week I wrote about PwC’s settlement of their Satyam class action lawsuits in New York for Forbes. Here’s some additional commentary and analysis, including links to all the stories I’ve written about the scandal since it broke in January 2009.