NEWS HIGHLIGHTS FOR FRIDAY - 10.14.16

By:
Maya Lindsay
Published Date:
Oct 14, 2016

Accounting and Financial News Stories

Fed Officials Concerned by Rising Corporate Leverage
Wall Street Journal
Federal Reserve officials are concerned about rising corporate borrowing levels, minutes from the Fed’s most recent meeting show. In minutes to the Fed’s late September policy meeting, released Wednesday, a few participants of the Federal Open Market Committee worried some corporations are using ultralow rates to do more than their usual borrowing.

Hold the phone: New York is third highest in cell taxes
Albany Times Union
Hold the phone. New York is frequently pummeled over its perennial top spot when it comes to property taxes and now there's another area in which the Empire State stands out – cellphone taxes. A survey released earlier in the week shows New York State with the nation's third-highest cellphone taxes, just behind Washington and Nebraska. Moreover, residents of New York City, as well as those who reside in a number of smaller cities and almost two dozen ''small city'' school districts, pay even more.

A 44% Pay Divide for Female and Male Law Partners, Survey Says
New York Times
At big American law firms, there is a 44 percent difference in pay between female partners and their male colleagues, largely because men bring in more big-ticket legal cases, or are better at getting credit for doing so. Female partners earned an average of $659,000 annually compared with an average of $949,000 for male partners, according to the latest survey of big-firm partners released on Wednesday by the legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.

U.S. Stocks Pare Losses
Nasdaq
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to close little changed Thursday, recovering from an earlier 184-point drop that followed weak Chinese trade data. Official data released Thursday showed Chinese exports fell 10% year-over-year last month, sparking concerns about the world's second-largest economy and global demand.

SEC Enforcement Hits Records in 2016
Accounting Today
The Securities and Exchange Commission reported that it has filed 868 enforcement actions related to financial reporting misconduct in fiscal year 2016 – a new single-year high. The fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, included the most ever cases involving investment advisors or investment companies (160), new highs for actions related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (21), and the largest amount of money distributed to whistleblowers in a single year ($57 million).

Treasury Announces Final Regulations on Earnings Stripping
Wall Street Journal
The Treasury Department on Thursday acceded to some corporate requests for leniency as it issued long-awaited final rules to keep businesses from using intercompany debt to avoid U.S. taxes. In response to corporate protests about the burden of the government’s original proposal, The regulations create a handful of exceptions to sweeping rules announced in April.

Central Banks Consider Bitcoin’s Technology, if Not Bitcoin
New York Times
Bitcoin was created by libertarian-minded programmers with a deep suspicion of central banks and the national currencies they issue. Yet it is central banks that are doing some of the most ambitious work of late in trying to harness the technology introduced by Bitcoin. The central bankers do not want their institutions to own or use Bitcoin itself.

Will Business Lending Spoil Bank Earnings Season?
Wall Street Journal
Business lending abruptly downshifted in the third quarter, a puzzling move that may weigh on upcoming bank earnings. For some time, business loans, also known as commercial and industrial loans, have been one bright spot for otherwise growth-starved banks, both large and small. But such lending fell by 0.1% in the third quarter, Federal Reserve data show.

Chinese-backed charity may be violating U.S. law, tax specialists say
The Fiscal Times
A New York educational charity affiliated with a Chinese company may have violated rules governing tax-exempt organizations in the United States, tax specialists say. The Council for American Culture and Education Inc was set up in 2009 on behalf of Chinese for-profit school operator Dipont Education Management Group, according to the two consultants who created the charity.

Foreign Investors Sue Toshiba over Accounting Scandal
FORTUNE
A group of investors, mostly foreign institutions, are suing Toshiba  TOSBF 1.12%  in a Tokyo court for 16.7 billion yen ($162.3 million) in damages, over a $1.3 billion accounting scandal uncovered last year. Toshiba said in a statement on Thursday that the 45 unnamed shareholders were seeking compensation for damages caused by its “inappropriate accounting.”

Little-Discussed Aspect of CFPB Ruling Could Be Boon to Lawyers
New York Law Journal
Lawyers who advise banks, mortgage lenders and other industries regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were hit by a blizzard of calls and inquiries this week by clients who are feeling more confident in challenging the agency after a court ruling limited its authority and rejected its statutory interpretations.

New Rules Make It Harder for Companies to Manage Their Cash
Wall Street Journal
Simon Gore has had a relatively simple job over the past several years. As treasurer of budget carrier Spirit Airlines Inc., he has taken tens of millions of dollars of company cash and parked it in money-market funds.

Companies Hurt by Treasury Crackdown Win Exemptions
New York Times
After the Treasury Department announced new rules in April restricting companies from using certain tax-reduction strategies, the protests rang out loudly. Business lobbying groups, executives, tax experts and lawmakers argued that they went too far. The rules were aimed at limiting the benefits of inversions, transactions that have grown popular in recent years, in which an American company buys a foreign one and moves its headquarters abroad to lower its tax bill.

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