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Under Pressure

Mar 16th 2009
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Under pressure from Congress, called upon to issue guidance on fair value (mark-to-market) accounting in inactive markets within three weeks (by the start of the G-20's April 2 meeting), as we reported here, and prodded further by this letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro sent by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) on March 11, which states: "The SEC has the power to force FASB to act or to act in their place where necessary," adding, "we urgently request the SEC to take immediate action," FASB has moved quickly to schedule an open board meeting for this morning, Monday March 16 at 8am, during which the FASB board will be presented with some proposals from its staff relating to fair value (mark-to-market) and other-than-temporary-impairment (OTTI). Read our analysis of what FASB will consider at its board meeting here.

PCAOB Under Pressure
Separately, The PCAOB is also at the receiving end of some pressure relating to auditing of fair value numbers. As reported in Friday's BNA Daily Report for Executives, entitled, 'Groups Urge PCAOB to Tell Auditors Not to Be Too Negative on Fair Value:' "A group of banking and business groups urged the [Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in a March 4 letter to ensure auditors are not being too strict on fair value accounting with the companies they audit."

SEC Under Pressure

The SEC has been under pressure in other areas than fair value, including some calling for reinstatement of the uptick rule relating to short sales. On Friday, the SEC posted a Sunshine Act Notice announcing that it will hold an open commission meeting on April 8 at which the commission will consider: "whether to propose short sale price test rules." This development was reported by Ronald D. Orol in Marketwatch Friday evening.

Madoff - and his Victims - Under Pressure

On the subject of those feeling under pressure, alleged (and now admitted) Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff pled guity on Thursday to 11 counts of fraud. Reuters coverage of the Madoff Scandal is very broad, including the article "Madoff Says Felt Compelled to Deliver 'At Any Cost," by Martha Graybow, and a link to what Reuter's describes as Madoff's statement-'How I Did It' (technically the Plea Allocution of Bernard L. Madoff). Madoff is presently in jail awaiting sentencing; Chad Bray reported on Friday evening Madoff Appeals Jailing, including that "A hearing before a three-judge appellate panel is set for March 19." Read more details about Madoff's admission here.