SEC

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.

SEC Names New Chief Accountant

The Securities and Exchange Commission has named Robert Herdman as the new chief accountant, replacing Lynn Turner who left the job in August.Previously, Mr. Herdman was a senior technical partner with Big Five firm Ernst & Young. Mr. Herdman is a member of the board of directors of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as well as a member of the AICPA's SEC practice division.

SEC Eases Auditor Independence Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission, in an effort to promote a calm and orderly return to stock market trading, has agreed to ease several rules.In particular, SEC chairman Harvey L. Pitt has announced that effective immediately, accounting firms may provide bookkeeping services and aid in the recovery of records for clients with offices in and around the World Trade Center.

AICPA to Set Best Practice for Cheap Stocks

Three years after the project was initiated, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is now preparing to develop a report on best practices for addressing the practice of a company issuing cheap stock to its employees in the period just preceding an IPO.The SEC had requested the Institute address this issue, but the guidelines had been delayed due to disagreements among task force members. "The staff had high hopes this could lead to useful guidance addressing issues that preparers, auditors, and regulators face on a daily basis with respect to accounting for cheap stock.
Practice

SEC May Start Curtailing Pro Formas

For years, companies have used pro forma statements as a means of better comparing previously reported financial statements with current statements where circumstances have changed significantly, as in a merger or acquisition.But recently, companies have been using pro forma statements to reflect what they believe to be the "true" financial health and well being of the company, taking into consideration various assets that may not appear on traditional accounting books, such as brand loyalty, market share, patents and other intellectual property.It is through this pro forma reporting pro

SEC Urged to Speed Up Investigations

In an interview reported in the Financial Times today, Jim Copeland, CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, urged the SEC to speed up its investigative processes and bring more definitive conclusions to its investigations of audit failures.Mr. Copeland lamented the fact that the credibility of the auditing profession was at stake when investigations drag on for many months or sometimes many years. "You never come to closure on these things," he said.

It's (Un)Official - New SEC Chair Sworn In

The Web site, www.cfo.com, is reporting that Harvey Pitt was sworn in as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week in a private ceremony. No official announcement of the swearing in has occurred, and Mr. Pitt is reportedly on vacation and unavailable for comment."We haven't made an announcement on that yet," was the official SEC response from spokesman John Heine, who refused to deny the report of the ceremony.Before leaving town, Mr. Pitt appointed David Levine, former SEC chief of staff, to a return engagement in the same position. Mr.
Community News

SEC Rules Force Sale of PwC's Corporate Value Arm

New SEC rules on auditor independence have forced PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to sell its US corporate value consulting (CVC) arm to Standard & Poor.The CVC unit had revenue of around $100 million last year and employed 400 employees in 13 US offices.
Education & Careers

SEC Looking For a Few Good Accountants

The Office of the Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission is accepting applications for four Accounting Fellow positions.

Coopers Partner Charged With Fraud

A partner and two managers from Coopers & Lybrand, LLP (now, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP) have been charged with fraud by the Securities & Exchange Commission for their role in the audit of Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation (AHERF).William Buettner, Mark Kirstein, and Amy Frazier are alleged to have masked the deteriorating financial condition of AHERF by helping plan fraudulent transfers of reserves and then hiding this in the company's 1997 audit.The defendants issued an unqualified opin

Harvey Pitt Confirmed as SEC Chairman

On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Harvey Pitt as the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, replacing previous chairman Arthur Levitt, who left the position in February, and acting chairman Laura S. Unger.Mr. Pitt is a lawyer who served as general counsel to the SEC from 1975 to 1978. It is expected that the tone of the SEC while Mr. Pitt holds the reigns will be one of less government regulation. In addition, Mr.

Senate Panel Chooses Harvey Pitt to Head SEC

The members of the Senate Banking Committee voted unanimously to choose Harvey Pitt as chairman of the SEC. Mr. Pitt is President Bush's selection for the office.The vote now goes to the Senate floor where it is expected that Mr. Pitt will easily win the votes. The date of the Senate vote has not yet been scheduled, but it is expected that the vote will occur prior to Congress's August recess.If Mr.

SEC Chair Would Reexamine Fair Disclosure Rule

Harvey Pitt, President Bush's selection for chairman of the Securities and Exchange commission, has indicated that, if confirmed, he would be willing to address the burdens placed on companies by Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD). Reg FD, one of former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt's pet projects, requires publicly held companies to provide information that could influence the purchase of shares simultaneously to every potential investor.

Independence Standards Board to Shutter its Doors

The Independence Standards Board (ISB) has served its purpose and is ready to disband.

Bush Nominates New SEC Leader

President Bush has nominated Harvey Pitt to be chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission. Mr. Pitt, a corporate lawyer, was former general counsel to the SEC under President Jimmy Carter.President Bush announced his intention to nominate Mr. Pitt earlier this year. Now the nomination has officially be sent to the Senate Banking Committee. This committee will schedule a confirmation hearing and ultimately Mr.

SEC Takes on Accounting Fraud

Congress may join forces with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in its investigation of hundreds of companies for possible earnings manipulation.Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA), chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on capital markets, has indicated that the House may call for hearings on the problem of accounting fraud in U.S. companies.Rep. John LaFalce, (D-NY), recently noted that executives are increasingly under pressure to meet analysts’ earnings estimates.

Improving Financial Reporting and Disclosure

The Business and Economic Review has published a thorough report on current SEC reporting requirements and the significance thereof. The article reviews the role of the SEC in financial reporting and discusses recent legislative initiatives on the part of the SEC to improve the quality of business information.Topics covered in the report include: Financial Reporting. According to recent SEC findings, corporations do not release certain types of financial information on a timely basis, nor do they report a sufficient amount of information.

SEC Calls Andersen Case 'Smoking Gun'

In a speech this week to the Center For Professional Education, Inc., acting SEC chairman, Laura Unger voiced renewed concern over auditor independence issues, citing the recent Andersen/Waste Management fracas as a prime example of abuse."This is one very significant case that we can point to," said Ms.
Community News

Andersen Fined $7 Million by SEC

The SEC filed civil charges in federal court Tuesday against Andersen, alleging the firm "knowingly or recklessly issued false and misleading" audit reports for its client, Waste Management, Inc., for the years 1993 through 1996.In a swift response to the charges, Andersen settled with the SEC and consented to be censured by the agency and to pay a fine of $7 million, the largest ever paid by a Big Five accounting firm in an SEC enforcement action.Three Andersen partners also agreed to pay a total of $

New Report May Reopen Auditor Independence Debate

An ongoing battle between the accounting profession and the SEC over the last year has led to a compromise on the question of auditor independence. But some numbers are now in which could re-open that discussion and cause the SEC to again scrutinize the line between auditing and consulting work.According to a recent article in the Washington Post, audit fees of public companies make up only about a quarter of total fees paid to an accounting firm by public companies.

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