A&A news

A&A

Spitzer, SEC Ponders Action in Grasso Pay Matter

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday his office may investigate whether the compensation of former New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso was appropriate for the head of a nonprofit organization. According to the Wall Street Journal, the stock-exchange board opted to refer the Grasso inquiry to both Mr. Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and both plan to undertake inquiries.
A&A

Mortgage Industry Has a Long Way to Go With Customer Satisfaction

New CFI Group Study Shows Challenges For Mortgage Industry In Face of Reforms, Rate Increases A new survey of recent mortgage purchasers by the international consulting firm CFI Group, co-sponsored by Mortgage Banking Magazine, shows that mortgage lending ranks relatively low on customer satisfaction among financial services organizations.
Tax

Top Ten Most Often Missed Business Tax Deductions

Calling the millions of dollars that is overpaid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year, "a widespread epidemic", the Tax Recovery Group (TRG) is releasing their list of the top ten most often missed business tax deductions. Failing to utilize these deductions accounts for the majority of businesses overpaying their taxes, which, according to statistics, businesses throughout the country overpay their taxes to the sum of millions of dollars each year.
Tax

Suit Alleges EY, UBS Knew of HealthSouth Fraud

A suit filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Alabama charges that HealthSouth’s former auditors and investment bankers knew about fraud within the company long before it became public last year.The suit, brought on behalf of stock and bond investors who bought into the company between 1998 and 2002, claims that its former auditors at Ernst & Young, and former investment bankers at UBS Warburg, knew about fraud within the company even as they signed off on financial statements and sold HealthSouth securities to the public, the New York Times reported.
A&A

Tyco CEO's Bonus Cut Amid Compensation Scandals

In a year full of compensation scandals, 2003 ended with news that Tyco’s chief executive saw his bonus cut by more than half and received none of the nearly $19 million in restricted stock and options that he got last year, according to a proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.CNN reported Friday that Edward D. Breen received a $1.5 million bonus for 2003, down significantly from the $3.78 million he received in 2002. However, his salary increased from $278,846 in 2002 to $1.5 million in 2003.
A&A

SBA, Running Low On Funds, Shuts Down Popular Loan Program

As the Small Business Administration moved to temporarily close down its most popular loan guarantee program, some worry that as the economy begins to recover, this is not the time to shut off funds to small businesses.The SBA, which oversees loan guarantees for companies that don’t qualify for traditional bank loans, has not received its funds for the fiscal year that began in October.
A&A

Corporate Boards Logged More Time in 2003, Compensation Declines

In the wake of corporate scandals, the new Sarbanes-Oxley law and other governance and accounting requirements, nearly two-thirds of corporate boards of directors spent more time on their duties during the past year, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Barometer. Despite the added workload, board compensation increased at only 20 percent of companies, and remained the same at 47 percent. The remainder was either uncertain about board compensation or did not report. For those receiving a raise, the average increase was 17.9 percent.
A&A

NYSE Names Chief Regulatory Officer

As part of its ongoing efforts to clean up operations in the wake of the Richard Grasso compensation scandal, the New York Stock Exchange is expected to hire its first chief regulatory officer.Richard Ketchum, general counsel of Citigroup Inc.'s investment bank, is widely expected be approved for the position he accepted Monday since he already enjoys the support of the Exchange’s board of directors and soon-to-be chief executive John Thain.The full board is expected to meet today to formally approve the appointment and make a public announcement.
A&A

Ad Executives Accused of Bilking the Government

Not even the government’s war on drugs is immune from the scandals gripping corporate America. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the government is charging two ad industry executives with conspiracy for supposedly overcharging the government for an anti-drug campaign.The Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency was hired in 1998 by the Office of the National Drug Control Policy, part of the Executive Office of the President, to oversee a print and broadcast campaign on the dangers of drugs, designed to discourage drug use among young people. The campaign concluded last week.
A&A

Company 401(k) Plans Dumping Some Funds Implicated in Scandals

In what one official called a "sea change" in the way 401 (k) plans are managed, 25 percent of chief financial officers are dumping the mutual funds involved in the widening industry scandal.
A&A

Will They or Won’t They Raise Rates to Deflect Inflation?

Is the economy on the healthy road to recovery or a bumpy road leading to inflation?
A&A

NASD Notes Dubious Records in 2003

Records were set in 2003 in the securities industry, but not the kind that make people rich. The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) reported last week that it had suspended or barred a record 830 people from the profession while collecting $32.6 million in fines for disciplinary actions.The NASD, which oversees the securities profession with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock Exchange, barred 480 people and suspended 350 in 2003. In 2002, the regulator barred 440 and suspended 374.
A&A

SEC Halts $800 Million Investment Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the filing of charges to halt a fraudulent scheme in which over 5,200 investor accounts purportedly hold investments of over $813 million through an Orange County, CA, business known as Financial Advisory Consultants (FAC). The SEC's complaint, filed last week in federal district court, names James P. Lewis, Jr., of Laguna Niguel, Calif., who allegedly has sold securities in two funds, known as the Income Fund, Ltd.
A&A

New Year's Resolution: Ten Tips For Organizing Your Finances

The American Bankers Association Education Foundation offers the following suggestions for getting financiallyfit in 2004: Order a copy of your credit report. Start off the New Year by reviewing your credit history for mistakes or signs of identity theft. For a thorough review, check with all three credit reporting agencies since there may be some variations in each file. This should be done at least once a year. Pay yourself first. Determine in advance how much money you plan to keep on deposit each month.
Tax

Financial Planning Too Often Hung Out to Dry

Oil changes, vacations take priority over portfolio planning, says Schwab survey.Taking the car in for service ranks higher on the "to-do" list of American investors as they prepare for 2004 than meeting with their financial advisor, according to a new survey released this week by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc."This survey is interesting because it confirms that most investors still need to take their finances much more seriously," said Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning, Schwab Center for Investment Research.
A&A

FASB Revises Accounting Guidance For Variable Interest Entities

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has published a revision to Interpretation 46 ("46R") to clarify some of the provisions of FASB Interpretation No. 46, Consolidation of Variable Interest Entities, and to exempt certain entities from its requirements.
Community News

FASB Issues Accounting Standard to Improve Disclosures About Pension And Other Postretirement Benefit Plans

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued FASB Statement No. 132 (revised 2003), Employers’ Disclosures about Pensions and Other Postretirement Benefits, that improves financial statement disclosures for defined benefit plans. The project was initiated by the FASB earlier this year in response to concerns raised by investors and other users of financial statements about the need for greater transparency of pension information.
Community News

Cause-Related Marketing: Embracing a Cause Just Makes Good Business Sense

Submitted by Steven Van Yoder Copyright 2003, Steven Van Yoder Altruism. Corporate responsibility. Philanthropy. These are often used to describe cause-related marketing, an activity in which businesses join with charities or causes to market an image, product, or service for mutual benefit. Embracing a cause makes good business sense. Nothing builds brand loyalty among today's increasingly hard-to-please consumers like a company's proven commitment to a worthy cause.
A&A

Grant Thornton Proclaims Its Innocence in Parmalat Scandal

Grant Thornton’s Italian unit contends it is the victim of fraud in the multi-billion-euro scandal surrounding Parmalat, Italy’s biggest food maker.Parmalat, a household name in Europe and the No. 3 cookie maker in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection last week as a fraud investigation widened and the hole in Parmalat’s accounts is reported to be more than 10 billion euros, according to Reuters. One key figure is founder Calisto Tanzi, who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of market rigging and false auditing.
A&A

PwC to Settle Travel Expenses Lawsuit for $54.5 Million

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has agreed to pay $54.5 million to settle its part of a class-action lawsuit that contends the accounting firm overcharged its clients for travel-related expenses.The lawsuit also names Ernst & Young LLP, KPMG LLP and two other defendants for fraudulently overbilling clients by millions of dollars collectively, the Wall Street Journal reported. PwC’s preliminary agreement is the first settlement in the case, which was filed in state court in Texarkana, AR. A separate investigation by the U.S.

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