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Green Light on Earnings Manipulation?

Green Light on Earnings Manipulation?

Where's the enforcement? | Copyright Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Is the Securities and Exchange Commission giving companies a green light to practice earnings manipulation? A recent MarketWatch article contends there has been “virtually nonexistent” enforcement by the SEC of Sarbanes-Oxley Act rules meant to deter financial earnings misconduct. Under the rules, the SEC could go after the compensation of executives whose companies restated financial results because of misconduct. An analysis by Audit Analytics shows that there have been more than 12,000 restatements during since the rules were enacted in 2002. About 4,600 of those restatements were so serious, the previously reported financials could not be trusted. But the SEC has only filed about 60 complaints seeking clawbacks in these cases and while some cases are still pending, only 15 of the lawsuits have obtained compensation from executives involved so far.

Boehner Throws A Wrench Into Fed's Plans

He did what? Until when? | Copyright Win McNamee, Getty Images

If uncertainty about the political landscape was one of the reasons behind the Fed's recent decision to delay hiking federal interest rates, then the announcement of Speaker of the House John Boehner’s upcoming resignation may have just made Janet Yellen's job even harder. Though his resignation is viewed as means to avoid another government shutdown, the current budget proposal only kicks the can to December 11, right when many analysts believe the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates. If Wall Street fears the GOP won’t be able to cut a deal by the end of year, it could give way to heavy volatility and market losses and further delay the Fed’s long-awaited plans to raise rates.

Learn From Their Mistakes

Listen up, sonny! | Image via U.S. National Archives

America's retirees have that message for the younger generations, according to a study by BMO Harris Premier Service. The study, which polled both retirees and non-retirees, found that 75 percent of the 3,200 workers surveyed are using a 401(k) and an IRA. But about half don't know when they're going to retire and 38 percent haven't even thought about it. "Some of the things we learned are that you can't prepare soon enough," said Stuart Thompson, head of the premier banking strategy and segment management at BMO Harris Bank. "And preparing isn't just about money. From my prospective, a good financial advisor won't talk about what you need until you talk about what you want to do." The advice coming from the retirees, of which 86 percent said they were happy with their post-work lifestyle, included planning early, paying off your debt and talking to your spouse about your retirement goals.

Gone But Not Forgotten

A new app developed by an Israeli company will allow deceased people to continue to communicate with loved ones from beyond the grave. According to the International Business Times, “SafeBeyond” will allow users to record audio and video messages and schedule them to be played back to loved ones. There are currently four different types of message delivery options offered: 1) At a predetermined date; 2) On the occurrence of a specified event; 3) A general farewell message to all social media contacts; and 4) When a loved-one sets off a location-based(!) trigger. The app is free but charges for any space used beyond 1G.

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