SEC Task Force Stepping up its Antifraud Efforts
As the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) focuses on combating financial fraud, lawyers are suggesting companies may have to adopt a fresh approach in submitting routine information requests. The recommendation is being contributed to the effectiveness of the SEC’s Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force, as well as the addition of more accountants to its investigative team. Since the formation of its antifraud task force last year, the SEC achieved a record 755 enforcement actions and generated $4.2 billion in penalties and recouped illicit gains for its fiscal 2014. Also being contributed to the record year of enforcement actions is. Read More.
U.S. Banks Still Using Poor Risk Models
After examining the 30 biggest U.S. financial institutions for its annual stress tests, the Federal Reserve is reporting that banks continue to rely on weak risk models. Announcing publicly last week their concerns on this year’s tests, it was discovered during the stress test were assumptions that were poorly documented or supported, had select validation checks, and notions made without knowing if they were possible. The Federal Reserve’s findings mirror an ongoing concern over banks’ reporting efforts. In January, global regulators encouraged the Financial Stability Board to make improved reporting a top priority. Additionally, Federal Reserve governor Daniel Tarullo has. Read More.
SEC’s Piwowar Shares Thoughts on Enforcement Actions
Speaking at last week’s Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) commissioner Michael Piwowar shared his viewpoint on the agency’s enforcement actions. During his speech, Piwowar remarked that due process begins with fundamental notions of fairness, and individuals should recognize what acts, or failures to act, are violations of the law and SEC regulations. In addition, individuals should be cognizant of possible sanctions and liabilities that could be carried out as a result of such violations. Further, Piwowar requested that all market participants to conform in administering the SEC’s securities laws with a specific set of expectations and. Read More.
SEC’s Gallagher Says Dodd-Frank Rules Interfere with Agency’s Mission
During a speech last week at Fordham Law School in New York City, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Daniel Gallagher asserted that many of the 100 rules produced from the Dodd-Frank Act conflict with the agency’s authority. Per the SEC commissioner, some of the rules related to environmental and political disclosures do not help the agency’s agenda of promoting effective capital markets, and are a waste of time and resources. Rather, he wants the SEC to focus on offering companies more flexibility to enter markets for raising investment capital. Continuing his speech, Gallagher criticized federal banking agencies for using the. Read More.
U.S. Investors’ Confidence Levels Reach New Highs
The Center for Audit Quality’s (“CAQ”) 2014 Main Street Investor Survey: Focus on Weathering Risk is reporting that U.S. investors’ confidence levels in U.S. public companies, capital markets and stock exchanges have reached new highs. According to the survey, 80 percent of retail investors showed confidence in U.S. public companies, marking the highest recorded percentage since 2007. Additionally, confidence in U.S. capital markets experienced a 12 percent jump from 2011, rising to 73 percent. When asked about various entities looking out for investors’ interests, the highest confidence numbers reported were for independent auditors (75 percent) and audit committees (71 percent). Stock exchanges also experienced a 70 percent level of. Read More.
FASB’s Proposals to Reduce Accounting Standards Complexities
As part of its efforts to simplify accounting standards, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) has issued the following Proposed Accounting Standards Updates (ASUs): Compensation—Retirement Benefits (Topic 715): Practical Expedient for the Measurement Date of an Employer’s Defined Benefit Obligation and Plan Assets. Entities whose fiscal year does not fall at the end of a month may experience more costs than others when determining the fair value of plan assets of a defined benefit pension or related post-retirement benefit plan. Most plans receive monthly statements as of the end of the month. When their fiscal year end doesn’t fall at. Read More.