[Flashback] How can you tell a good board of directors from a bad one?


Posted by YEO Wei Lin, Year 3 undergrad at the School of Accountancy, Singapore Management University

THE directors of Yahoo! were “so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country” that they fired Carol Bartz as chief executive “to show that they’re not the doofuses that they are.” That was Ms Bartz’s typically blunt verdict, offered to Fortuneafter she was dismissed with a phone call by the internet firm’s chairman, Roy Bostock, on September 6th. Continue reading

What Long Term Investors Can and SHOULD LEARN From Short Sellers: Mere accounting irregularity is not enough, focus on the fundamentals of the business; Reading notes to account much more important now


What Long Term Investors Can and SHOULD LEARN From Short Sellers

Posted on January 30, 2015by Anil Tulsiram

Note: Unless otherwise stated, entire text in this blog post is from two books 1) Art of Value Investing 2) Art of Short Selling . David Einhorn quotes are from his book Fooling Some of The People All the TimeMy comments are in italics. 

Let me make it clear at the outset that I had never done short selling nor do I plan to do in future. But I found principles of short selling technique to be equally helpful to long-term investors. For short sellers the maximum upside is 100% whereas downside is UNLIMITED. These asymmetrical returns force short sellers to be much more diligent and conservative compared to long only investors. I was surprised to note that most successful short sellers NEVER SHORT ANY STOCK MERELY ON OVER-VALUATION. I am not talking here about short sellers who short a stock in the morning and cover their position by the end of the day.  I am talking about short sellers, who after deep analysis create a position and hold on to it until their conviction pays off. 

Charlie Munger once said, ‘All I ever want to know is where I’m going to die, so I never go there’. My sole attempt at studying short selling technique is to find what successful short sellers look for in a good short and to avoid such stocks. 


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[Flashback] Should auditors be able to exercise more ethical judgment?



Posted by Latha Do NADARAJAN, Year 3 undergrad at the School of Accountancy, Singapore Management University

Imagine an external auditor in this situation. In the course of a financial statement audit, unequivocal evidence of a fraud is uncovered. The auditor confronts the client with evidence; the client admits to the fraud and agrees to make the requisite adjustments in the firm’s financial statements. The auditor also notifies the client’s audit committee of the fraud. However, the committee comes to the decision that no further action is necessary. Continue reading

Alibaba’s IPO Warnings Ring True With Fake Goods Dustup


Posted by John SOH Yong Ye, Year 4 undergrad at the School of Economics, Singapore Management University

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. investors got a taste this week of why investing in Chinese businesses can be fraught no matter how large or blue chip the company is. Although the e-commerce giant, in my view, appears to be on solid legal ground with the disclosures it made to investors ahead of its IPO in September about its challenges with fake goods, the skirmish shows there are limits on how much investors can really know about Alibaba or any public company relying heavily on Chinese operations. Continue reading

Narcissus Enters the Courtroom: CEO Narcissism and Fraud


Posted by M Laavanya, Year 3 undergrad at the School of Accountancy, Singapore Management University

Narcissus Enters the Courtroom: CEO Narcissism and Fraud.

Rijsenbilt, Antoinette1 rijsenbilt@ese.eur.nl Commandeur, Harry2

Journal of Business Ethics. Oct2013, Vol. 117 Issue 2, p413-429. 17p. 8 Charts.


This study explores the aspects of the relationship between possible indicators of CEO narcissism and fraud. Highly narcissistic CEOs undertake challenging or bold actions to obtain frequent praise and admiration. The pursuit of narcissistic supply may result in a stronger likelihood of a CEO to undertake bold actions with potential detrimental consequences for the organization. The sample consists of all S&P 500 CEOs from 1992 till 2008 with more than 3 years of tenure. The measurement of CEO narcissism is based on 15 objective indicators and fits the main conceptualization of narcissism. This data collection provides a score for all S&P 500 CEOs according to their narcissistic tendencies. The Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases on the SEC’s website are the indicators of managerial fraud. The findings confirm the expected influence of plausible proxies for CEO narcissism on fraud by showing a positive relationship. This confirms the psychologic perspective of CEO narcissism as a potential cause of fraud.

[Flashback] Fraud in the Board: The Case of Olympus


Posted by M Laavanya, Year 3 undergrad at the School of Accountancy, Singapore Management University


Sacked by Olympus for his stand against financial corruption, ex-CEO Michael Woodford describes what happened when he blew the whistle

This article was first published in the January 2013 International edition of Accounting and Business magazine.

With three decades working for a Japanese camera giant under your belt, you are rewarded for leading the growth of the European arm with promotion to company president – the first non-Japanese national ever to hold the post. The fact your new role starts on April Fool’s Day does not seem an omen. Continue reading

Accounting Fraud and Pump-and-Dump Schemes: Penny Stock Pawnbroker Had a Clever Trick to Get Paid


Penny Stock Pawnbroker Had a Clever Trick to Get Paid

JAN 29, 2015 5:55 PM EST

By Matt Levine

A sign of a good scam is that it’s hard to tell who’s being scammed. So here is a charming little story about International Capital Group, which agreed to pay $4.3 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges of penny-stock misbehavior. ICG basically ran a pawn shop for penny stocks. Lots of founders/promoters/chief executive officers of tiny public companies own lots of stock in their companies, and not much else. And some of them would like to turn that stock into money.

But controlling insiders can’t sell their stock without registering the sales with the SEC. This requires things like, you know, audited financial statements, which can be a problem if you’re a tiny company with dubious financials. Even more important, registration also means disclosure. And when the founder and chief executive officer and majority shareholder of a tiny company publicly announces that he’s dumping all his stock, that … tends to push the stock price down. The trick is to get money for your stock without telling anyone that you’re selling


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