Accounting and Audit

The Courage to Act, or Not

Some of us have plenty of time to read good books while under lockdown rules. Here’s one I have been reading. It’s a memoir by Ben Bernanke, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve under the title “The Courage to Act”. It covers the major worldwide financial crisis of 2007/8 created by the defaults in sub-prime mortgages. The book includes a very good section on how that came about and how packaging up such mortgages eventually led to a complete lack of ...

FRC Seminars, Lookers Results, Caparo Judgement and Autonomy Case

I attended two seminars organised by ShareSoc and UKSA with the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) yesterday (24/11/2020) and the day before. The first session was about the “ARGA transformation”, i.e. the steps being taken to improve the audits of companies and the reporting of accounts following the Kingman review two years ago. ARGA stands for Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority which will be the new name for the FRC. Before reporting on the meeting, it’s worth noting the latest example of how ...

Do Spivvy PE Funds IPO Their Investments at Inflated Prices? – and HM Treasury Consultation UK Listings Review

The AA 86% share price decline, coming on top of the Saga and Aston Martin makes me wonder if PE firms and others are exploiting those retail investors willing to buy into a fashionable story. I have to admit to losing money on Saga, whose share price is down 90% from its 2016 high. My mother-in-law was a huge fan of Saga and she gave me a present of Saga membership when I was 50, so when they were floated, I and ...

Law Suit Launched Against Grant Thornton over Patisserie Valerie Audits

The Daily Telegraph and some other sources have reported that the liquidators of Patisserie Valerie (CAKE) have filed a claim in the High Court against Grant Thornton over the audits of Patisserie Valerie in the years before it went into administration. I reported previously that the accounts of Patisserie were a complete fiction – see Reference 1 below – with the assets of the firm overstated by more than £90 million. The liquidators are FRP Advisory and they have appointed lawyers Mischon de ...

Is the FRC doing a good job?

By Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc. I think the FRC is doing a much better job. The record fine for Deloitte re Autonomy, (see Compliance Week: FRC fines Deloitte record $19.4M for Autonomy audit failures ) and the fines at Redcentric and Redcentric's auditors, and the prosecutions of former Redcentric directors in Southwark Crown Court are further evidence that things are changing. As is the transitioning from FRC into ARGA. But don't take my word for it. Come to the FRC events we have organised ...

Changing auditors’ responsibility for detecting fraud

by Mohammed Amin MBE FRSA MA FCA AMCT CTA (Fellow). This article was first published in UKSA’s Newsletter, The Private Investor, and is reproduced with the author’s permission. The Expectations Gap After almost every major corporate reporting failure, arguments arise about the "expectations gap". This is the gap between what shareholders, creditors, employees and journalists think that auditors should be doing, and what auditors consider they are actually required to do. This expectations gap is particularly acute in cases where there has been fraud. The ...

Preventing Fraud in Accounts – FRC Tightens Audit Rules

There have been repeated examples of the accounts of public companies being fraudulent in recent years. Wirecard was probably the latest and biggest example. I have seen examples of such misdeeds twice in my investment career in my own holdings although losses have been minimal in both cases, the last example being Patisserie (£95 million missing from their accounts). But I have avoided a lot of others where the losses to some investors have been enormous. There have simply been too ...

Record Fine on Deloitte, But It’s Not Enough       

The Financial Report Council (FRC) has fined accounting firm Deloitte £20.6 million (including costs) for its defective auditing of Autonomy. Deloitte is the largest of the big four audit firms and this is what the head of the firm said when talking about their 2019 results: “Our FY 2019 results are a validation of Deloitte’s strategy to deliver high-quality, globally consistent service to our clients while continuing to serve the public interest and working to restore trust in capital markets”. Revenue of ...

Redcentric: Unprecedented Progress for Shareholders – At Last

Two Cheers for the FCA in the Case of Redcentric Two cheers for the FCA: they have achieved a positive outcome for shareholders affected by the case, and have been pragmatic, albeit after a very long time. It is also good to see the other objective of our campaign potentially achieved - of prosecuting individuals for their alleged misdemeanors. Such actions are essential to deter others from criminal activity. Background Redcentric has been an extraordinary case. They key issues at the time when serious ...

Property Shares Spooked by Land Securities and Pets at Home Accounts Attacked

Land Securities Group (LAND) published their annual results yesterday. I don’t hold the stock but what they said seems to have spooked the whole property sector. The company is a large holder of both retail and office property. For retail property, only 38% of rents due were collected within 10 days of the due date in March. For offices it was better at 89% but that is still down from the prior year at the same time. What possibly really scared people ...