SEC

SEC announces SAB 109 regarding written loan commitments

The Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of the Chief Accountant and Division of Corporation Finance has announced the release of Staff Accounting Bulletin (SAB) No. 109, "Written Loan Commitments Recorded at Fair Value Through Earnings." The SAB provides the staff's views on the accounting for written loan commitments recorded at fair value under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).To make the staff's views consistent with current authoritative accounting guidance, the SAB revises and rescinds portions of SAB No.

SEC announces new unit to lead global move to interactive data

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox has announced the creation of a new office within the 74-year old agency to lead the transformation to interactive financial reporting by public companies.
Technology

SEC suspends trading on three companies in Anti-Spam Initiative

The Securities and Exchange Commission has continued its assault on stock market e-mail spam by suspending trading in the securities of three companies that haven't provided adequate and accurate information about themselves to the investing public.The trading suspensions are part of the Commission's Anti-Spam Initiative announced earlier this year that cuts the profit potential for stock-touting spam and is credited for a significant worldwide reduction of financial spam.
Technology

XBRL delivers taxonomy for electronic accounts

The Security and Exchange Commission has taken a step toward automated filing of "interactive" accounts data with the completion of a project to create an extended business reporting language (XBRL) taxonomy for U.S. GAAP. At a press conference in New York last week, XBRL U.S. president Mark Bolgiano symbolically handed SEC Chairman Christopher Cox a memory stick containing the taxonomy, which is made up of thousands of XML tags that define the classifications used in U.S.

Investment adviser accused of impersonating clients, stealing from accounts

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against an Arcadia, CA, investment adviser who misappropriated millions of dollars from investors to whom he had promised huge returns through "no risk" options trading.According to the Commission, investment adviser Charles Trigilio withdrew more than $3.4 million from his clients' accounts for his personal use, transferred money from one client to another in a classic Ponzi scheme tactic, and gave clients false information about their investments to hide the losses from his spectacularly unsuccessful trading strategy.

SEC charges 69 auditing firms and partners with SOX violation

The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued 69 charges against various accounting firms and partners for violation of a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act that requires registration with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Thirty-seven separate firms were involved in the action. No Big Four or major accounting firms were among those charged. This is the first time the SEC has issued such charges. The SEC indicated that 53 audit reports of public companies were issued by those firms and partners who has not registered as required by SOX.

SEC files action to halt $25 million Ponzi scheme

Continuing its crackdown on financial fraud against senior citizens, the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed an emergency action to shut down a $25 million Ponzi scheme that victimized hundreds of senior and other investors nationwide who bought fractional ownership interests in life insurance policies.The SEC asked a federal district court in Sacramento, CA, to grant the SEC's request for an order temporarily prohibiting further sales of the products, freezing the assets, and appointing a receiver to take control of operations in order to manage and preserve remaining investor fun
Technology

Dell promises to restate fudged accounts

Texas-based PC manufacturer Dell has been forced to restate accounts going back to 2003 due to accounting errors and irregularities identified by an internal investigation. The accounting errors and irregularities that will be corrected are significant because of the combination of the number of issues identified, the qualitative nature of many of the issues, and in some cases, the dollar amounts involved.The problems came to light in 2005, when the SEC's Division of Enforcement launched an investigation into the company's accounting and financial reporting practices.

SEC to discuss improvements to financial reporting

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox has announced the appointment of the following members to the SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting. The advisory committee, established last month, will hold its first meeting on Thursday, August 2, at 10 a.m. at the SEC's Washington D.C. headquarters.Denny Beresford, Ernst & Young Executive Professor of Accounting, J.M. Tull School of Business, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. Mr.

SEC approves PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 5

The Securities and Exchange Commission has voted unanimously in favor of a new auditing standard and other measures to increase the accuracy of financial reports while reducing unnecessary costs, especially for smaller public companies.The Commission expects the new auditing standard, in combination with the Commission's new management guidance, will make Section 404 audits and management evaluations more risk-based and scalable to company size and complexity."In approving Auditing Standard No.

EDGAR Online announces member discount arrangement with AICPA

EDGAR Online, Inc. has announced that it has arranged with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to offer AICPA members its award-winning I-Metrix subscription service at a discount. EDGAR Online's I-Metrix combines XBRL-enabled interactive data with web and Microsoft Excel analysis tools that will provide CPAs a streamlined method of doing company and financial research. "We are confident that I-Metrix can help CPAs perform faster, smarter and higher quality analysis of public company financial information," said Susan Strausberg, CEO of EDGAR Online, Inc.

SEC to lift GAAP requirement for non-U.S. companies

Regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission have tentatively agreed to relax accounting regulations for foreign companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. Approximately 1,200 non-US companies that list their stock on the New York Stock Exchange will be affected. Under the new rules, these companies will no longer have to reconcile their financial statements to U.S.

SEC to back Enron shareholders' lawsuit

The Securities and Exchange Commission has decided to support Enron shareholders suing Wall Street banks for damages suffered due to the company's collapse. The Enron shareholders' $40 billion lawsuit before the Supreme Court contends that Merrill Lynch & Co., Barclays PLC and Credit Suisse Group should be held equally liable as Enron Corp. as participants in the energy company's massive accounting fraud.

Toys "R" Us Blames Accounting for Delayed Report

Toys "R" Us Inc., the nation's second-largest toy seller, on Friday announced it would be forced to delay the filing its annual report due to an issue with income tax accounting. Now privately held, the company reported it has not yet completed financial statements for the quarter and 2006 fiscal year that ended Feb. 3. The company now expects to file the annual report, Form 10-K, by May 21.

SEC Considers IFRS, GAAP Filing Choices

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced its intentions to issue a ruling this summer designed to give foreign private issuers a choice between IFRS and U.S. GAAP. In addition, the SEC plans is considering providing U.S. issuers the alternative to use IFRS.Current SEC rules require that foreign private issuers who report in IFRS, or any other non-U.S. GAAP, provide a reconciliation of those financial statements to U.S. GAAP.

Former Cendant Controller to Pay $100K Fine

Anne Pember, controller of CUC International Inc. before that company merged with HFS Inc. to form Cendant in 1997, has agreed to pay $100,000 and cancel her stock options at the company to settle accusations that she played an important role in an accounting fraud at the company now known as Avis Budget Group Inc. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges against her almost seven years ago, alleging that, in 1998 alone, Pember was responsible for implementing directives that inflated the company's annual income by more than $100 million.

Regulators Not in Favor of Small Business SOX Relief

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox isn't ruling out further delays in applying stricter accounting requirements on small public companies but said such relief isn't the option preferred by regulators. About 6,000 smaller public companies have yet to come under two requirements adopted by Congress in 2002 as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, calling for companies to make an annual assessment of their internal financial-reporting controls, with further review by the company's outside auditor.
A&A

67% of CFOs Believe SEC Should Revise 8-K Rules

In a national survey of CFOs and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International, 67 percent believe that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should revise 8-K rules to require reasons for all company dismissals of auditors, for all auditor resignations and for all instances in which the auditor chooses not to stand for re-election.

NYC Comptroller Seeks Wal-Mart Spy Investigation

The comptroller of New York City has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department to investigate allegations that Wal-Mart illegally spied on some of its shareholders. TNew York City Comptroller William C. Thompson's request follows a series of allegations by a fired Wal-Mart security operative that the giant retailer performed surveillance operations against employees, critics, suppliers, consultants and shareholders expected to challenge some of the company's policies at an annual meeting.
Tax

SEC Approves Framework to Ease SOX Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a framework Wednesday for changes to rules under the Sarbanes-Oxley law that would ease requirements for companies and the auditors responsible for their records. Sarbanes-Oxley, which arose from the 2002 corporate scandal, mandates that public companies assess the strength of their internal checks and balances to guard against fraud. The vote by the five SEC commissioners was unanimous to support building more leeway into the rules, especially rules for auditors being written by the independent board that oversees the accounting industry.

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