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Financial Disarray At S.e.c. Hurts Bid For Bigger Budget

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/03/business/03sec.html?_r=1&ref=business

WASHINGTON — If a company’s financial reporting were so bad that its auditor had pointed out significant weaknesses in its accounting for seven years running, the Securities and Exchange Commission would most likely be all over it.

But what if the company were the S.E.C. itself?

Since the commission began producing audited statements in 2004, the Government Accountability Office has faulted its reporting almost every year. Last November, the G.A.O. said that the commission’s books were in such disarray that it had failed at some of the agency’s most fundamental tasks: accurately tracking income from fines, filing fees and the return of ill-gotten profits.

“A reasonable possibility exists that a material misstatement of S.E.C.’s financial statements would not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis,” the auditor concluded.

The auditor did not accuse the S.E.C. of cooking its books, and the mistakes were corrected before its latest financial statements were completed. But the fact that basic accounting continually bedevils the agency responsible for guaranteeing the soundness of American financial markets could prove especially awkward just as the S.E.C. is saying it desperately needs money to increase its regulatory power.

Like the rest of the federal government, the S.E.C. is operating without an increase in its budget, which was $1.1 billion last year. With President Obama talking about extending the freeze and lawmakers continuing their criticism of its embarrassing performance before the financial crisis, the agency’s prospects for more money appear bleak.

That has ominous implications for investors. The S.E.C.’s technology systems, for example, lack the ability to perform sophisticated analysis of large batches of financial material. As a result, a Congressional report says, S.E.C. analysts sometimes resort to printouts, calculators and pencils. While investigating the “flash crash” of May 6, 2010, S.E.C. computers were so strained by the crush of data from just one day of trading that it took three months to figure out what had happened.

Hilarious.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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