SEC

SEC's Pitt Calls For End to Accounting Self-Regulation

Harvey L. Pitt, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, spoke in a press conference Thursday, ready to take action to preserve the integrity of the tarnished accounting profession. "We have taken the initiative to begin the process of restructuring the regulatory process that governs the accounting profession," he stated."The Commission, not the profession, must take a leading role in protecting the public interest," he continued.

New Accounting Oversight Plans to be Announced Today

In the wake of the Enron situation, the Securities and Exchange Commission under the direction of Chairman Harvey L. Pitt is working with members of the accounting industry to design new rules that could help protect investors from unexpected company failures.Mr. Pitt has scheduled a news conference for 1:30pm EDT today to outline a framework for a professional oversight panel that would include accountants and non-accountants, among other proposals.

First Pro Forma Case: SEC Faults ‘Positive Spin’

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts has the dubious distinction of being the

SEC Continues Crackdown on Illegal Payments

On January 15, 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) settled a case against BellSouth Corporation involving alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

SEC Censures KPMG, Orders Tighter Independence Controls

Adding to the accounting profession’s mounting credibility problems, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on January 14, 2002 that it had censured Big Five firm KPMG for purporting to serve as an independent accounting firm for a client while it held substantial investments in the client.

Xerox Takes on the SEC

Xerox Corporation served notice on Monday that it plans to dispute the Securities and Exchange Commission's ruling of improper treatment of accounting for leases.The SEC has been investigating Xerox for the past 18 months and has concluded that the method Xerox uses for accounting for sales leases has resulted in financial reporting that is not in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.Much of Xerox's income is derived from leasing equipment. Reporting such leases as sales leases, Xerox records a lease contract as a sale, offset by the liability of the lease.

Watch for SEC Guidance Affecting 2001 Reports

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is mulling over a draft of new guidance that could affect preparation of annual reports for the year just ended. The draft was submitted by the Big 5 firms and the AICPA, all of whom are petitioning SEC to issue speedy guidance in the form of an “interpretive release” applicable to the MD&A (Management Discussion and Analysis) portions of 2001 annual reports on Form 10-K.

Disney May Set Precedent for Auditor Independence

In a decision that may set a precedent for the public accounting profession, the Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered Walt Disney Company to go forward with a shareholder vote on whether the company's outside auditor may perform consulting work for Disney.Last year, Disney's outside auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, performed consulting services in the areas of tax, accounting, information services, and business process matters.

SEC to Examine Fortune 500 Annual Reports

In light of the recent collapse of energy giant Enron, the corporation finance division of the Securities and Exchange Commission will review the annual reports of the nation's Fortune 500 companies in an attempt to seek out accounting red flags.The agency will look for financial statement disclosures that may not follow accounting rules or may not be clear enough for investors to understand."Anything that improves the level of accounting and disclosure in corporate America is a good idea for our financial markets and for investors in general - if it's an actual program as opposed to jus

Big Five Accountants Named to SEC Positions

On Thursday, President Bush announced his appointments of two Big Five accountants to fill two commissioner vacancies on the five-member Securities and Exchange Commission.Paul S. Atkins and Cynthia A. Glassman will assume five-year terms if they are confirmed by the Senate.Mr. Atkins is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, D.C. and has held various positions with the SEC, including chief of staff and counselor.Ms. Glassman is a principal at the Washington, D.C.

SEC's Pitt to Auditors: 'You Will Pay'

The Securities & Exchange Commission has launched a formal investigation into the recent collapse of energy giant Enron Corp. and has subpoenaed records from Big Five firm Andersen in relation to that investigation. In the December 24 issue of Business Week magazine, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt discusses the investigation and the role the SEC expects to take in preventing such problems in the future.In his interview with Business Week, Mr.

SEC Releases Regulation Fair Disclosure Study

As promised, the Securities and Exchange Commission has revisited the issues that concern publicly held companies regarding Regulation Fair Disclosure, the ruling that requires publicly held companies to provide information that could influence the purchase of shares simultaneously to every potential investor. Earlier this year, during confirmation hearings, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt expressed his support of Reg FD, but stated his intention to examine complaints about the regulation should he be confirmed as SEC chairman.

SEC Fires Warning Shot Over Tech Statements

The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has told investors to be wary of the financial statements of many high-tech companies.Its latest Investor Alert has cautioned against taking pro forma announcements - the kind favored by companies such as Amazon, Yahoo and Cisco - at face value.The watchdog agency said such statements should be treated with "appropriate and healthy skepticism.""Because 'pro forma' financial information by its very nature departs from traditional accounting conventions, its use can make it hard for investors to compare an issuer's financial information with ot

Washington Post Articles Take Aim at Accountants

The Washington Post has begun a series of articles that place the accounting profession under a microscope.
Community News

PwC Sacks 1,100 at Enron as SEC Targets Andersen

Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers have cut 1,100 UK jobs at the European holding company of the Enron group - just as U.S. watchdog the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it plans to investigate the work of Andersen, auditors for the troubled energy group.PwC's Tony Lomas commented, "The over-riding priority is to preserve the valuable parts of the business and to reduce the cash needs of the business whilst seeking to secure the future of certain Enron businesses and its employees." Only around 250 Enron staff will be left working in the UK.

AICPA Issues Amendments to Independence Rules

The auditor independence quality controls sought and established last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission have resulted in an amendment to the auditor independence rules by the SEC Practice Section (SECPS) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.This amendment is effective January 1, 2002. The SECPS has updated its "Independence" training course to take into account the SEC's new rules.
Community News

Andersen Faces SEC Sanctions over Enron Reporting

Enron, the natural gas and energy services giant, has been in the headlines in recent months regarding a massive restatement of shareholder equity that caused a shudder on Wall Street.

SEC Complains of 'Smoke and Mirrors' Reporting

SEC Commissioner Isaac Hunt, speaking last Friday before the Schools of Accountancy at its annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia, complained that federal regulators continue to see companies engaging in what he called smoke-and-mirror accounting practices that inflate earnings and stock prices.The SEC "has recently noticed certain worrisome trends relating to the integrity of financial information," stated Mr. Hunt.

SEC Chairman Wants to Shift Focus

The new Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, Harvey Pitt, is intent on shifting the focus of the SEC from prosecuting corporate financial fraud to improving financial disclosure. "I believe violations of law, if they occurred, have to be pursued with vigor," said Mr. Pitt," but I'm more concerned about protecting investors before violations occur."Mr.
Technology

SEC Launches New Investment Info Web Site

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) have announced the launch of a new Web site designed to provide information about money managers, financial planners, and other investment advisors.Visitors to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Web site (IAPD) will be able to access registration documents filed by the 7,500 SEC-registered investment advisors and more than 1,700 state-registered advisors.

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