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Aug 19, 2013

Watchdog finds problems in dozens of U.S. broker-dealer audits

NEW YORK, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Many financial auditors are
failing to properly check for accounting fraud risks at U.S.
broker-dealers or test controls over customer funds, new
inspections mandated by Congress after Bernard Madoff’s massive
Ponzi scheme have found.

In its second inspection report on broker-dealer audits, the
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an auditor watchdog,
said it found problems at 95 percent of the 60 audits it
checked.

Aug 16, 2013

CFTC asks court not to dismiss suit against U.S. Bancorp unit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. regulators on Thursday asked a federal court not to dismiss their lawsuit against a bank tied to the blow-up of brokerage Peregrine Financial, saying the bank helped bring about millions of dollars of losses for Peregrine customers.

At issue is a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission in June against U.S. Bank N.A., a unit of U.S. Bancorp, based in Minneapolis. The lawsuit accused the bank of letting Peregrine founder Russell Wasendorf Sr secure loans against money that belonged to his brokerage’s customers.

Jul 24, 2013

Former SEC chief accountant named to U.S. accounting board

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former chief accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been named to the private board that sets corporate accounting standards as it conducts a controversial overhaul of corporate America’s bookkeeping.

James Kroeker, 44, will be a vice chairman of the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board, the board’s parent organization, the Financial Accounting Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.

Jul 10, 2013

China ready to hand over audit documents to U.S. regulators

SHANGHAI/NEW YORK (Reuters) – China’s securities watchdog said it is ready to turn over audit documents of a Chinese company listed in the United States to U.S. regulators, signaling a second breakthrough in a two-year international dispute over accounting scandals.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been struggling to get papers out of China to investigate possible accounting fraud at dozens of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. China, for years, has resisted turning over documents because of state secrets and sovereignty concerns.

Jul 3, 2013

House may vote soon on controversial auditor issue

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on whether an auditor industry watchdog can force companies to switch auditors every few years, breaking up some business ties that have lasted over a century.

Regulators in the United States and Europe have been considering limits to audit firms’ terms after auditors failed to warn of problems at banks that failed in the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.

Jun 27, 2013

Choppier profits seen on U.S. insurance accounting shake-up

NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) – The biggest overhaul of
insurance accounting in 30 years will advance a step on Thursday
with the release of a proposal that some insurers fear could
make their profits more volatile.

In a move to align financial statements worldwide, the U.S.
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) aims to shine a
light into what some call the “black box” of insurers’ finances.

Jun 26, 2013

Accounting board seeks ‘going concern’ self-test for US firms

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. companies would have to regularly assess their ability to continue as a going concern under a proposal issued on Wednesday by accounting rule-makers, an attempt to ensure investors get timelier warnings when companies get in trouble.

The proposal from the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board calls for companies to evaluate each quarter their ability to survive as a going concern, or stay afloat and pay its obligations. Currently, the company’s auditors are primarily responsible for making this evaluation.

Jun 23, 2013

Investor risk lurks in legal structure of China IPOs -lawyers

NEW YORK, June 23 (Reuters) – As the U.S. market for Chinese
stock offerings revives, some experts are warning that American
investors could be left out in the cold if a company faces
problems, due to an unusual business structure employed by many
Chinese companies.

The structure, known as a variable interest entity, or VIE,
is designed to let companies bypass Chinese government bans on
foreign ownership in some business sectors.

Jun 7, 2013

U.S.-China corporate audit rift persists as summits begin

June 7 (Reuters) – The Obama administration is under
pressure from large corporations and a senior U.S. senator to
revisit oversight of Chinese corporate audits at upcoming summit
meetings, as disputes persist despite a partial deal on the
issue reached in May.

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to meet Friday and
Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Their discussions
were likely to focus on other topics, but New York Senator
Charles Schumer has urged the two leaders to take up the
auditing issue.

May 24, 2013

U.S. audit regulator reaches deal with China on document access

NEW YORK, May 24 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators will get access
to Chinese companies’ audit documents under a deal announced on
Friday, opening the way to probes of bungled audits after a
two-year stand-off between China and the United States.

The nonbinding deal is only a partial victory for the United
States, which has been blocked from investigating accounting
scandals at dozens of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock
exchanges.