Tag Archives: KPMG

Knocking on the door of death

There is a time in anyone’s life when death comes knocking. For some it is in an early stage for others when the end of a long road has been reached and a few of the latter go that way after a rewarding life, being it material or spiritual. So when we see ‘The Greek government says the country has turned a corner, but that is not the experience of people on the ground‘ it is merely another step to an early grave for a lot of them. The Greek Debt is being disconnected, it is being misrepresented by government and media, and overall the people are only losing more and more at a steady pace. When we see the quote: “The worst is clearly behind us.” Panaghiota Mourtidou pondered the words with a gravity unusual for the jovial volunteer. Even now, several days after the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, saw fit to use the phrase, she still feels somewhat bewildered” (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/30/greek-debt-crisis-people-cant-see-any-light-at-the-end-of-any-tunnel), the people seem to realise that they are being played. In the end Tsipras delivered on being as shallow and as deceitful as all the administrations before him. When we see the mention of the  French-trained hairdresser who had paid into a pension fund for almost 45 years, we see the initial fallout “At first it was a fairly good pension at €1,750 a month,” she recalled. “Then it was cut to €1,430 a month and now its €960 a month“, it is a 46% drain on quality of life, it is merely slightly more than Australian welfare, it implies that people get to live of $5 a day for their goods and groceries, which is utterly inhumane and I think that Panaghiota Mourtidou and Alexis Tsipras are insane to give any voice to ‘the worst is behind us‘, there is a realisation that this is merely the end of the beginning. With a debt of €325 billion, and according to one source an interest that is set to roughly €600 per second, we know that this is before the last bailout, so it gets to be a little less positive soon enough. We know the Greece didn’t have any options, they all know that this would happen, yet the injustice that there has been no prosecution of the previous administrations must hurt the people a lot too. So when she voices the fact “Hopes of spending their later years in Crete have been dashed“, I feel for her, because at some point, that was my dream too and for a lot it was a decently realistic dream. In all this we see “raise the sort of money it needs to refinance its debt,” said Kyriakos Pierrakakis, director of research at DiaNeosis. “It will almost certainly need a new financial credit line, a bailout light, and that will come with new conditions.”“, as the risk grows the refinancing of debt is so hollow, as more goes into interest it all falls away and nothing is left. Now, we can agree that Greece or a larger than smaller extent did it to themselves, they did it in either ignorance or in spite of, the reason does not matter; the outcome would remain the same. As they had the option to get out of the Euro and default on their loans there might have been an optional new start-up, now we see that there has been almost no actual support and the Greek population will need to live with the consequences of ending empty handed, generations washed away without the optional memory, it might be the first time in history that the financial institutions have taken their goods, their savings and their memories, the harshest of conditions.

In all this, Kathmiri shows another side (at http://www.ekathimerini.com/220517/article/ekathimerini/business/prices-remain-particularly-high-in-greece), the quote “Eurostat data show that Greek consumers pay more than all other European Union citizens for their telephony and postal services, with price levels standing almost 40 percent above the EU average rates, and even higher than the rates in Switzerland“, the question becomes: ‘who is pushing this?’ When we see options from Vaya, TataDocomo and Amaysim in places as outlandish as Australia (a large island with at some places miles of stretches between each house), the option from the Greek government to open the option to other players so that some of the quality of life is not lost is one part, the other is to invite players like Google, so that the Greeks have some level of ‘free’ internet is not out of the bounds of thinking. The mandate for the Greek politicians becomes less waiting for the credit houses to throw them scraps; it becomes an issue to offer the Greeks some additional levels of options that floats the quality of life to the smallest degree. It is a simpler process than merely hoping for the economy to get better and to hide behind the falsehood of ‘the worst is clearly behind us‘, a statement we all know (especially the Greeks) is not true.

All this whilst Victoria Hislop produces an article a day earlier on ‘Patra represents the extremes of Greece – sublime and mundane‘, it is her view and she shows some of the remarkable places in Greece, in that she gives her views, with images of Saint Andrew, a breathtaking place. She voices how Patra is elemental in all this as a given need when one sees Greece. It is all valid, you see, the darkness of the debt is an internal one, driving tourists forward towards Greece is clearly another part. I fell in love with Crete when I originally saw ‘Who pays the ferryman‘, in the end I went to the places where it was filmed, and many other places on the island. I saw the relaxed Elounda, the bar where some of the episodes were filmed, but that was merely the beginning, you see, Crete had so much more, Spinalonga was the true treasure of historic events, the Venetian fortifications as well as the impact that the other visitors had to the place. Greece is more than the debt it has, but has been equally reduced to the debt. Yet in all this, what have the greed driven corporations pushed towards Greece in an air of support? Did we see Vodafail giving a sweet deal to the Greeks and create a long term loyalty plan? Ah, no, because they still have a net debt of £29 billion, which was up by 31%, whilst the executive officer Vittorio Colao lives of £6 million, amounting to £500K per month. OK, to be clear, I am not having a go at him, he might have been well worth every penny. It is just that I have been confronted with the Vodafail PR for a little too long and when the times are hard, they ‘suddenly’ retrench. This is a valid step for any corporation mind you, yet, if these players are so much about one EU, and using their influence trying to thwart Brexit whenever they can. Is that suddenly small minded local thinking not an interesting non-EU mindset? When we consider (at http://www.politico.eu/article/digital-single-market-mid-term-report-card-tktkt-percent/) we see the fallout in the corporate sphere. The quote “Thirty years after the launch of the EU single market, 20 years after its first work on launching a telecoms single market and 10 years after then-Commissioner Viviane Reding launched the digital single market idea, the Juncker Commission has only got one of its 35 digital proposals signed off so far“, it is clear evidence of the utter uselessness of a single market, it is evidence on the need and greed of large corporations, the maximisation of profit. In all this, I have stated years ago that pushing some of the services to Greece could have had a positive impact, an actual sweet deal for some of the large players whilst they moved away from expensive western European places, yet none of that was done, because PR was all about the visibility in Dynamic London. So how EU is that? I am all in favour of growing London businesses, yet when you consider £3500 per square meter on average for a company spot, and Greece can get you a large building at 1000x in a one time off option (not an annual fee), how expensive is London (or Amsterdam for that matter). In all this, pushing several call-centres to Greece and Crete could have had an impressive impact on the Greek economy, yet the large players never considered that (or optionally intentionally steered away from that option), it was not sexy enough. So after 30 years we see “Presenting its half-time report card Wednesday, the Juncker Commission acknowledged things need to pick up speed. “The work is far from complete,” said the Commission’s Vice President for Digital Andrus Ansip. Estonia will put digital issues at the top of the agenda when it takes over the EU presidency in July; as its longest-serving prime minister, Ansip is well-placed to leverage that push“, which does not mean that any of it will get done, pushing the weight to the next person, that is the mere realisation that the EU with their so called one market, their 20 gravy trains and a cost of existence that has surpassed the Greek debt in tenfold is showing us that not only is the EU a redundant thing, the fact that Santa Mario ‘spends way too much‘ Draghi is even more evidence as his €60 billion a month is leaving Greece out of any easing options, an equation that should warrant a lot more questions, yet the Financial times (at https://www.ft.com/content/82c95514-707d-11e7-93ff-99f383b09ff9), is showing how apparently, the recovery is slow, but real. That might be to some degree correct, yet when we see “Debt sustainability in both Italy and Portugal is very sensitive to economic shocks“, which is true, especially with the massive debts Italy has, In that that their interest due has surpassed €2500 a second, Greece is not a consideration anywhere, Greece no longer counts. The one quote that we see and require to consider is “Five years later it is clear the head of the European Central Bank was true to his word, restoring financial confidence and ending a crisis of sovereign debt through a series of extraordinary measures to support the continent’s governments and banks“, the first is was he actually true to his word? Is there actual financial confidence or is there an environment of governmental abuse and pushing the risks of the games some play and dangers they bring onto the population of these nations as debts keep on rising, as governments have lost all abilities to keep a proper budget? When we see the local news in the Netherlands with ‘De Nederlandse bank‘, the additional mentioning on how the Brits are all getting into trouble because of Brexit, the Flemish where we see over valuated housing issues rising, in addition, the large banks in Belgium have invested well over €40 billion in fossil fuels, this is an issue and an important one when we consider “Naast de schade aan klimaat, mens en milieu, erkennen steeds meer experten ook het financiële risico van investeringen in fossiele energie. Zo wees BlackRock, ‘s werelds grootste vermogensbeheerder, op het gevaar van ‘stranded assets’: fossiele energiebronnen of -centrales die in de komende jaren meer zullen kosten dan ze opbrengen“, which paraphrased translates as “beside the climatological damage, an increasing amount of experts are pointing at the financial risks of these stranded assets, Blackrock being one of the voices state that fossil energy sources will cost more than they will bring in revenue wise“, so not only are we watching €40 billion in bad investment, the dangers are that there are long term considerations in costs as well. Now in the end, this might have been the least of the dangers for the Belgium government, yet in that light it means that certain matters can no longer be maintained in the overall image. This is a very disturbing issue. All this links back to the options for Greece, when we see European governments make bad and expensive decisions, in addition as the governments in question seem to be creative book keepers, yet when we look at the risks given to their populations, the long term damage is one that seems to be spiralling out of control and none of these governments are making their politicians criminally accountable for any of their actions, how is there any chance of a surplus within the next two generations? That is a reality that should have been enacted for the longest of times, so as we see the impact of Greece as (partially due to their own acts) we see large corporations move out, more and more exploiting individuals move in for the kill and we see Alexis Tsipras and Panaghiota Mourtidou state that ‘the worst is over‘, how delusional is that?

In Belgium the newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws‘ (at http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/957/Binnenland/article/detail/3148452/2017/05/03/Belgische-staat-verkoopt-deel-aandelen-BNP-Paribas-Geen-onverstandige-zet.dhtml), gives us two parts. The first is “Belgische staat verkoopt deel aandelen BNP Paribas: “Geen onverstandige zet”“, The Belgium government is selling a stake (25% reduction) into the French group BNP Paribas. This international banking group employs over 180,000 employees in a little over 75 nations; they have assets close to €2 trillion and had a profit last year of €7 billion, so they are no small grocery on the corner of a village. This happened two days after “BNP Paribas Fortis zet parlementslid zonder uitleg op straat“, meaning that they ended the accounts with a member of parliament, this Member of Parliament has 60 days to push his accounts into another bank. Now the reasons are not linked as a given, yet when we see ‘what is the most upsetting is that neither the phone connections nor the office of the bank gives me any reason as to why this is done‘ (at https://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/bnp-paribas-fortis-zet-parlementslid-zonder-uitleg-op-straat-bc2612a0/). When we consider the other (translated quote “often it is about strict rules regarding ethics and battling fraud, e-Finance institutions are mandatory required to collect customer information and to report this. It depends on the type of customer and for politicians there are specific rules, they need to be updated more frequently“, now we can argue and speculate, yet the question becomes if there is a problem reporting within the bank, that tends to be not such a good thing and if this politician is not the wealthiest one, the juice might not be worth the squeeze, so in this age, as banks become more and more stringent into ‘adhering‘ to certain rules, it seems to me that this tends to be a first sign that the bank has certain stress issues it really prefers not to update too often. It is merely speculation from my side, yet when we consider that for the longest time, elected officials as customers were a positive impact on the PR of a bank, seeing the member of a Green party (usually the most innocent of political types) pushed away, I wonder what on earth is going on.

How these two relate?

That is not the actual question, but it is an important factor. The news (at https://www.febelfin.be/en/belgian-banks-are-doing-fine-first-sight-will-face-a-problem-profitability-near-future), gives rise to a KPMG report, which gives us “But the Belgian banks will have to take corrective measures to maintain this profitability while keeping solvability and liquidity at acceptable levels“, which in light of more frequent reporting might be an issue for these banks, as we see ‘higher costs due to increased regulation and tax burden‘, we need to realise that the banks are playing on ponds that are a lot more shallow than the people realise, even if the water looks clear and reflective as a mirror, it equally shows that beneath the surface there are optional hidden hurdles. I am not stating more options to get beached, more that the requirement to navigate a lot more to get into a forward placement; these two elements are not the same, but the return on investment is becoming a (much) larger effort. Now, as Belgium is economically in a better place than Greece is, it gives rise to the optional irresponsible dangers that Greece is willing to go to with the next selling of Bonds and with the dangers of added percentages on risk, the impediment of forward momentum is not an equal, but a more elevated risk for Greece (as they are all in one happy European Union), in the end the only thing it does is that it raises risk and debt for the mere depressing benefit of one mere interest payment to ignore, a mere 12 weeks of time. The KPMG report as mentioned earlier shows that so far the anticipated return on equity is falling to 6%, which is on par with the minimum requirements for 2017 at 8%, yet will fall another 2% over the next two years, meaning that the minimum required target will be off by 40% in 24 months, which is going to be a large impact on every bank who had set their targets accordingly. This leaves me to speculate that the banks will become a lot more creative by underplaying the dangers for now and as such, Greece will hit waters a lot rougher and more dangerous for the Greek people soon enough. Belgium is merely one example. Italy, the Netherlands and Germany will be facing similar issues. The last one (read: Deutsche Bank) with exists from Australian markets as it is transforming (read: or is that reinventing) itself. As players from the senior side are moving all over the world to other competitive players, we see that the Deutsche bank is moving in some direction. This is the explosive field we see and this is the market that Greece is trying to get into again in what I would call a far too dangerous time to play that desperate card. To me it seems irresponsible on several fronts, so the initial ‘the worst is over‘ could before the end of fiscal year 2017 become ‘we are hitting additional hard times, that could not have been foreseen and were outside of the scope of anything we could normally expect‘, when the Greek people see that statement come, I will happily remind you that this was not as unexpected and that I foresaw the dangers months before they played out, when that happens, the Greek population will need to ask themselves how they got played, how their quality of life was diminished by well over 50% and how it happened that none of the politicians involved ever got to face court and judges on any of that.

I do not pretend to know the markets or that I am some banker with the insight of ‘Nostradamus’. Merely a person applying common sense, 6 languages and the use of a spreadsheet, this is how I got there, with all of the degrees I do have, none of those are in economy. So when you see the ground fall away from you just wonder how the economists or the economic reporters did not see it coming as some of them move to other shores with their awesome savings, leaving the Greeks to fend for themselves, deprived of whatever they were supposed to have.

When death comes knocking, the type ‘A’ bankers, often viewed as impatient, ambitious and smitten with business aggressiveness, suddenly become the type ‘B’ individuals, all happily willing to step aside letting whomever are behind them take the plunge into purgatory first. This is how quaint the reality of life will end up being considered for all those who are watching it unfold from a distance (if they get to be lucky enough to watch it from a distance).

 

 

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The excuse from a failed politician

The NHS has been in the news more than once as it is an important issue. It is today’s article in the Guardian that is a much bigger issue than most people will realise. Let’s take a look at the issue. The title ‘NHS would be put under threat by Brexit, says Jeremy Hunt‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/26/nhs-under-threat-from-brexit) is only the beginning.

To show you part of this we need to look at this part by part. The first part is shown at the very beginning “The National Health Service will face budget cuts, falling standards and an exodus of overseas doctors and nurses if the UK leaves the European Union, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said“, which gets my initial response ‘Let me play the worlds tiniest violin for you Jeremy! Why don’t you consider an alternative job like in a taxi or perhaps become a barber, it’s just a suggestion!

Is my response to harsh? In this light, which should always be considered, we need to state the following:

  1. The NHS will always face budget cuts, Brexit is not a factor in that reality. Remember that the NHS works off the UK national budget, which is under pressure to say the least, the EU donation not being the smallest expense in all this.
  2. Failing standards if Brexit happens. This might be the most ludicrous reasoning. Ludicrous because standards are either being met or not and at present from several sources they are not being met, the EU seems to be setting unrealistic high requirements in some cases, requirements that many nations are failing, it should be about British standards, they should be the highest and they should be met, EU be damned (and all that).
  3. An exodus of overseas doctors and nurses when Brexit happens. This could have been an issue, but it was clearly stated in my blog ‘The News shows its limit of English‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/22/the-news-shows-its-limit-of-english/), where I showed how both Sky News and the Guardian were basically fucking up and creating unneeded panic. That article called ‘New immigration rules will cost the NHS millions, warns nursing union‘ showed the lack of investigation by both news sources as the UK government had published clearly in section 79E ‘is expected to demonstrate that he is being paid either at or above the appropriate rate for the job, as stated in the Codes of Practice in Appendix J‘, the nurses are clearly mentioned and the expected income as set out in the charter.

As I see it, I had to explain that to the press in my article on June 22nd 2015, so why would Jeremy Hunt state option C? In his defence, some people might be nervous if the UK leaves the EEC, yet a British passport is one of the most revered ones on the planet. So any non-EU medical employee would do a lot to gain that status and the UK government has done its share of keeping these highly qualified people interested in staying in the UK. So tell me, why is Jeremy giving us part C?

He actually gives us a decent answer through “Hunt argues that, with the NHS budget already under huge pressure, funding levels can only be maintained if the British economy remains strong“, it is only partially an acceptable answer as the NHS has been a mess for almost half a decade now, so these issues had been known, even if Brexit is an additional element, the danger of Brexit had been a fact for at least 6 months, that is, the chance of it becoming a reality, so the consequences of diminished economy has been an element for almost a decade. Even as the UK had been fortunate, the dangers of a receding economy have been a danger for the larger extent and when we realise that other EU nations have not been this fortunate, we should see that part in the light of ‘Jeremy hunt has had an economic advantage until now’. Not being ready for that risk is clearly a failing of health secretary Jeremy Hunt (as I personally see it).

After that he then kicks in his own windows when we read “He cites a series of economic surveys, including from the CBI as evidence of the adverse impact of an exit on the UK economy“, the CBI survey, which was an absolute joke, as shown in ‘Is the truth out there?‘ (At https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/03/21/is-the-truth-out-there/), it makes for a decent read and shows how the CBI survey could be seen as another chapter from one of the most famous books in statistics called ‘How to Lie with Statistics‘ by Darrell Huff, a 1954 publications that shows us never to ignore the classics.

The quote: “Hunt suggests that progress the government is making in employing 11,000 extra doctors and 12,000 more nurses will be threatened and warns of the “damage caused by losing some of the 100,000 skilled EU workers who work in our health and social care system”. Some could leave because of uncertainties over visas and residence permits, he suggests“, which again I consider to be a load of (the word starts with a ‘B’ and ends with ‘locks’). There shouldn’t be any uncertainties on visas or residency permits and offering that even as a suggestion makes (again, in my personal opinion), Jeremy Hunt unqualified for his present position. It is his job to create calm and take stress away, not to introduce additional stresses to an area where he already failed, in addition to these points I am raising, personally, as a conservative. I believe that there are questions on Brexit and to be against Brexit might be the party line, but there are too many questions regarding the European Community, there are conservatives who seem to support Brexit. For one there is Lord Chancellor Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, who gave his reasons at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-michael-goves-full-statement-on-why-he-is-backing-brexit-a6886221.html, that part is not up for discussion. The only quote in all this is “The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time“, which applies to the NHS because it is facing both technological and economic challenges already. The Labour party bungled the option to get part of the technological solution implemented that could have helped the NHS (perhaps you remember the loss of roughly £11.2 billion in NHS IT restructuring).

My issue in all this is that (again, as I personally see it) Jeremy Hunt is not much of a visionary, which means that as expected, he will follow the party line as any governing body needs to adhere to. Yet in all this, scaremongering is the wrong approach. We need to be the enlightened party, the leaders that give rise to inspiration by properly informing the people. The growing problem for the Conservatives is that like Michael Gove, more will see that the EU has stopped being a solution. Many will not be as eloquent as Michael was in his essay, as printed by the Independent. This does not matter if we are united in finding a solution. My big worry is that scaremongering is a dangerous tactic. It is also the wrong one to make for the reason that enlightening the audience creates trust, needlessly scaring them will only drive part of our party towards UKIP (or Labour), a choice that is a lot more dangerous! To govern one must be elected and the view given at present is not that encouraging.

Stephen Dorrell, the former health secretary and ex-chairman of the Commons health select committee gave us this “EU research programmes and single market legislation have greatly strengthened European cooperation in this area with substantial benefits for both healthcare and employment in the UK. It is a simple fact that Brexit would put all this at risk“, which we might see (initially), as a fair enough statement. Yet in my view, the information could be regarded as incomplete (read: speculative view). You see, when we consider Stephen Dorrell, Healthcare and Public Sector Senior Adviser to KPMG in the UK (at https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/contacts/d/stephen-dorrell.html), we need to consider what KPMG could lose, apart from the NHS £1 Billion revenue solution, as one might phrase it. When we re-consider the info the Guardian gave, which is correct in the view that NHS funds will find cutbacks, KPMG has a clear danger that it will reflect on their 10 figure deal, all in pounds and a lot less on medical staff. This gives an additional weight to the view that Stephen Dorrell did not give all the information, because there is a lot more, not on the hands of Stephen Dorrell or in the hands of him mind you, but in the hands of his friends (read: associates), possibly with KPMG who are realising that Brexit will impact their juicy pharmaceutical profits, with a growing chance that India could move more and more into the UK pouch of generic medication and the expenditure cutback solutions they bring. Now, reader be warned, there is a fair bit of speculation here (the part about India), that speculation is partially because I think there are long term solutions here for the Commonwealth at large, partially because it seems to me that I (and the public at large) have had enough of fat cats (especially pharmaceuticals) avoiding taxation to the degree they have whilst selling overpriced solutions, that are being re-patented again and again.

The list of misinformation appears to be growing and I am trying to offer resistance, because my party should be better than that! After all, we aren’t the Labour party!

 

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Spelling fraud with a ‘T’

So, after we see the events in Tesco, which has taken its billions in toll from September 2014 onwards, we now learn that Japan has its own version of Tesco, which we read in ‘Toshiba boss quits over £780m accounting scandal‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/21/toshiba-boss-quits-hisao-tanaka-accounting-scandal).

Here it is not the meagre 263 million that Deloitte discovered would only be the tip of the Titanic sinker, in the case of Japan, it is three times the amount, which initially might beckon the question whether the fall out for Toshiba could be 9 times worse. Is it that simple?

The Guardian gives us the following “Tanaka and Sasaki knew about the profit overstatement and created a pressurised corporate culture that prompted business heads to manipulate figures to meet targets, the investigators found“, the other one is “Improper accounting at Toshiba included overstatements and booking profits early or pushing back the recording of losses or charges. Those actions often resulted in still higher targets being set for business divisions in the following period“.

These two are aimed at one side of a picture, but what some sales people will know is that this is already a disjointed part. Before I go into this, there is one more quote that needs to be mentioned. It is “Despite its shares losing almost a quarter of their value since the irregularities surfaced in April, it is still Japan’s 10th biggest company by market value. It was created by a merger in 1938 but its roots date back to 1875 and it was one of the companies that turned Japan into an industrial power“, so these irregularities have been part of something already for months, in addition, from an article one day earlier we get “The report said much of the improper accounting, stretching back to fiscal year 2008, was intentional and would have been difficult for auditors to detect“.

The last paragraph alone implies that like with Tesco, this system could not be done without massive ‘support’ from accountancy firms, moreover in all this, we have to wonder if anything will be achieved, especially as PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) seems to have fallen off the view of journalists, and as we have seen no news from the SFO (Serious Fraud Office) since December 2014, we can ask in equal measure, whether the now sparkly news on Toshiba will go anywhere at all. Is it not interesting that PwC added 64 new partners three weeks ago, they get all the limelight as we read “Luke Sayers, chief executive of PwC Australia, congratulated the new partners on their appointment, praising their outstanding professional expertise“, whilst at the same time we get “IOOF has hired accounting giant PwC to review its regulatory breach reporting policy and procedures within the firm’s research division“, whilst in all this, PwC should still be regarded as the number one problem, as for a long time Tesco’s ‘issues of monetary matters‘ ended up getting overstated by well over a quarter of a billion, and so far it seems that either the SFO is nowhere, it is hushed or it seems to pussyfoot around PwC as the PwC marketing engine goes on like there was never a glitch in their seamless sky to begin with.

Now it is important that the entire PwC issue hits the UK, so a global company like PwC should not get hindered by one rotten basket, especially as they have dozens of baskets. Yet as one basket was regarded to have gone ‘rotten through’, the fact that there remains a system of silence, gives way to ask the question why PwC should be trusted at all and in that light, in the case of Toshiba, how intensely damaged the accounting business has become, you see Tesco and if we go by the words of Sheldon Ray of the Financial times we see “non-GAAP earnings per share that were more than 100 per cent higher than its GAAP numbers in the last quarter. Another reported 2 cents a share non-GAAP profit vs $1.41 per share loss under GAAP in one quarter” (at http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f07720d4-c9b1-11e4-b2ef-00144feab7de.html#axzz3gWXJGSSF), so how deep goes all this? This grows in light when we consider ‘Richard Bove on Fannie Mae’s Accounting Irregularities‘ (at http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/07/fannie-mae-accounting/). Not a number one source, yet consider the quote “The result of their work is a conspiracy theory concerning the government takeover of Fannie Mae in which the public has been lied to concerning Fannie Mae’s financial condition in 2008 and in subsequent years“, this is linked to the work by Adam Spittler CPA, MS, and Mike Ciklin JD, MBA, MRE. Spittler is a Senior Associate at KPMG and Ciklin is an investor in a number of start-up digitally based companies, so we see that there is at least some Gravitas with these people, now add to that the information from the Washington Times (at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/11/fannie-mae-recklessness-risks-future-financial-cri/), where we see ‘Mortgage giant hired unqualified auditor with conflict of interest for critical position‘ and “Nearly seven years after it was bailed out from the housing market crash, mortgage giant Fannie Mae is still engaging in behaviour that could precipitate future financial crises and taxpayer losses, a government watchdog warns in a report to be released Wednesday“, which was an article from last March. Now, the fact that this is not ‘new’ news is not the issue, what is the issue is that there is an almost Global act of blatant disregard, leaving the people the feeling that accounting seems to be set to levels of intentional misrepresenting companies for the need of bonuses and the ‘Holy Dow’. The fact that the activity against such transgressions is seemingly kept of the table in these economic times will only grow stronger unrest.

Yet, is my view correct, is it not me that is in error? Let’s face it, One in the US, one in Japan and one in UK does not a conspiracy make, it does not reflect on some non-existing criminal empire based on the quill, ink and parchment (as accounting used to go in the old days). What is an issue is how on a global scale governments seem to act or not act is matter for discussion, yet in all this external forces have been at work too, let’s face it that the US in 2008 was a place of desperation, even as it is now still on the ‘to-be-regarded-as-bankrupt’ even governments will make weird leaps when they are pushed into a corner. In my view, the fact that the bulk of global accounting is pretty much in the hands of half a dozen accounting firms remains cause for alarm and PwC is in the thick of many events. Including the 40 million property scandal surrounding Xu Jiayin last march.

Yet back we go to Japan, the land of yummy Sushi and as it seems shady bookkeeping. You see, there is no way to tell how deep Toshiba will get gutted, if Tesco is any form of indication, there will be a massive backlash, If 256 million leads to a well over 3 billion drop in value, what will it do to Toshiba? More important, with Japan so deep in debt, would it push Japan over the edge of bankruptcy? Let’s not forget that Japan hung over that Abyss a few times and the US seemed to have ‘intervened’ in favour of Japan in the past, in this case, that might not ever be an option again. For those who think that I overreact, think again. Tesco lost value factor 12. Now, we all agree that this is extremely unlikely to hit Toshiba to that degree, but what happens when stockholders walk out? Now consider that Toshiba is amongst the 10 largest Japanese companies with a global reach that equals IBM, that whilst Japan has a debt of $10 trillion, the fallout will hit Japan (again). To give view to the next part, I need to revisit a part I mentioned in the past. Let us take a look at the following example:

In week 10 a salesperson makes a sale, knowing it will not be a solution, during the next week that customer gets managed all over support and after a week, they escalate and communicate with the customer on solving it, a week after that the customer gets the apology that there is no solution, but that the customer will get a full refund, case closed.

Week 10 Sale made
Week 11  Support starts
Week 12 Escalation
Week 13 No resolution
Week 15 Refund

Now the part, the sale was made, in Week 13 no resolution, now we leave one quarter and go into the new quarter, the refund will not affect the sales person’s bonus, nor will the sales target be affected due to negative sale.

This is based on actual events, now think of the impact when this is not mere sales, but 1.2 billion in sales. Did this happen? I cannot state that all of the funds were done in that way, but consider the impact of increased sales and the people who enjoyed their bonuses from that (if that happens in Japan).

Consider the quote “blamed on management’s overzealous pursuit of profit“, which we get from the ABC article (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-21/toshiba-top-executives-quit-over-us12-billion-scandal/6637976). Now add to that the quote “underlings could not challenge powerful bosses who were intent on boosting profits at almost any cost“, so how was the profit boosted? You see, this is not just an auditing issue, when we look at these large companies and the way that sales are arranged and forecasted, consider the events involved. To name but a few

  1. Leads
  2. Contacts (the consequence of a lead)
  3. Forecasting (the consequence of contact and the push for sale)
  4. Sales registration (Scopus, Salesforce, SAP)
  5. Accounting
  6. Reporting

Six iterations of paper and electronic trails that had to handle 1.2 billion in virtual revenue to some extent. Even if the leads cycle was avoided (by going through existing customers), there are other divisions that needed to be aware of a large non existing sale. You see, twelve hundred million dollars makes for a massive amount of monitors, laptops and other items Toshiba makes. Even over time, flags should have been raised on several levels, so when I read “The report said much of the improper accounting, which stretched back to 2008, was intentional and would have been difficult for auditors to detect“, which implies that the intentional misdirection was done over 6 iterations, which means that the group involved was a bit larger than we read in the articles at present. More important, how well did the Auditors seek in this regard? Which now takes me back to the reference I made earlier regarding “PwC added 64 new partners“, so how good are these ‘senior’ players? Making someone a partner, so that they can be misdirected by a senior partner would be equally disturbing. The fact that Toshiba falls through just like Olympus did, in a place where these events are regarded as ‘shocking’ according to investigating lawyer Koichi Ueda does not make me any less nervous. How institutionalised is overstating revenues on a global scale? You see, this is happening a lot more than many realise and even though many are not found, it does not mean it is not happening next to your own place of business. Now we get back to the issue I raised regarding Fannie Mae. The fact that it is not unrealistic that the government looked the other way here is still a fact we must consider. More important, are the two parts not mentioned in any of this. The first is linked to the issue I reported on January 30th 2013 (yes over 2 years ago at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/01/30/time-for-another-collapse/) in my article ‘Time for another collapse‘, I questioned the way the Dow did not just recover, it did so whilst places all around us were remaining below par for a very long time after that. Now consider the following speculative theory:

What if places like Fannie Mae used the ‘leave one in’ approach. So there were mortgage packages and derivatives. So, we have four properties that are doing fine and we add one worthless one to the mix. The package deal as the salesperson states. So the buyer ends up with a ‘value’ and whilst one part is ‘given’ without value, that person has a good deal, now consider that this one place is no longer a lost place, it is no longer a write off. Over time the market would recover with less losses, so is this truly an action that is virtually impossible? Moreover, if such a thing truly happens, would it be fraud? How could an auditor ever find the event in the first place?

This now links back to Toshiba, not just in how you push up 1.2 billion, but how to get it passing the view of a ton of auditors. In the case of Tesco, I personally considered the involvement of PwC from the first moment the news came out, there it was a less murky place because as supermarket chain their product goes to Joe and Jolene Public. That is not the case with Toshiba. Not only are they global, but with a power plant division (including the one that makes you grow in the dark) as well as medical equipment (likely needed for previous mentioned division), Toshiba deals with consumers, corporations and governments, which on one side requires a lot more administration, but that administration would have the ability to go murky on an exponential level, which gives added value to the claim “difficult for auditors to detect” yet that gives option to two parts, is there a questionable level of administration, or are we confronted that the auditing partner in this case was a 28 year old recently promoted individual who now gets his/her first real large account?

Why these statements?

You see in all this, on a global scale, the law has failed. It fails because the rewards are just too good to pass up for those playing that game, the chance to get away with it and the option to keep at least a decent part of these earnings safe makes the option to do this again and again almost a certainty. The law has no bite and the corporations involved are too powerful to get smitten down, so this avenue will continue for a long time to come. In addition to this we ask what else is affected and why is there a tendency from the press to not keep these matters a lot more visible? Consider how much the Guardian and others reported in 2014, if you now Google ‘PwC Fraud SFO Tesco‘ we get nothing after December 22nd, what a Christmas present that is! What is funny that one other part showed up, which is Keith McCarthy, now director at PwC London, who was Chief Investigator with the UK Serious Fraud Office before that, so would it be mere speculation that the best way to avoid prison is to hire the police officer so you know where they will be looking? #JustAsking

I am only asking!

Anyway, with a wish for a better lifestyle, I will consider helping Toshiba to retrench their IP and Patents for a mere 0.4% of the value, now if I could only persuade my Law Professor to help me out, 0.3% for her and 0.1% for me, I should end up with enough to buy http://www.cooperbrouard.com/St-Peter-Port/Ridge-House-property/3835453 and retire in a relaxing way!

I agree that I could do better, but then I was never a greedy person, which is a failing the Toshiba executive clearly lacked.

 

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The cost of doing Business

It is the guardian again, not in anything specific; however generically speaking there is an issue that requires visibility.

Let’s take a look at the following headlines: “Ebola is in America – and within range of Big Pharma“, “How bet365 profits from Chinese punters who risk jail for gambling” and “Brutal competition batters supermarkets the world over“, here is the cost of doing business.

How is it relevant?

That is the first part, this is not about relevance, and also, these issues are not linked (as far as I can tell), but they do have something in common (other than that they were all in the Guardian on October 5th 2014). Let’s take a look at big pharma. The article comes from Julia Kollewe and is a good read, from the article I got the following parts:

Unfortunately, the standard economic model for drug development, in which industry takes all of the risk in R&D and gets a return on investment from successful products, does not work for diseases that primarily impact low-income countries and developing healthcare systems” and “GSK is developing a malaria vaccine that could be ready late next year and is expected to be sold on a not-for-profit basis. Its success rate was only about 30% in infants but better in toddlers, although final clinical results and data on the effect of a booster are still due“, last there is “Turner says two commissions are looking at alternative financial models. One idea is that governments could underpin the economic cost of drug development by committing early to buy the first 2m doses of a new vaccine, for example“. How is any of this ‘just accepted’? Let’s take a look at GlaxoSmithKline. It made 25 billion in 2013 with a net income of well over 5 billion (20% net income is amazingly good). Is that not enough? Is the issue not on how they come up with something, how it becomes a solution and then they make a fortune. So, why must they get ‘a set government incentive’? Why are we allowing for governments to bank on failure? Is their continued existence not based upon proven success? Now let’s take a look at the BBC article from May 10th 2012 (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-17993945) where we see: “The programme obtained confidential tax agreements detailing plans to move profits off-shore to avoid what was a 28% corporate tax rate at the time. Those involved include pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)“. So, not only are they ‘avoiding’ certain due invoices to the Coffers of Osborne, they want pre-ordered and ordained solutions? An anointed decree of set maximised profits. It reads like these boards of directors have a spine no stronger than a paperback, one that is comprised of balance sheets I might add.

So, as we say goodbye on how big pharma will find new ways to get loads of cash on possible medicinal solutions, we should take a look at number two.

Brutal competition batters supermarkets the world over’, the article states ‘observer writers’ yet gives us no names. When we look at certain parts we see a view that is incomplete, but seemingly not inaccurate “Aldi has made huge gains in market share in Australia, from about 3% in 2005 to 10% this year“, this means that the two running the show (Coles and Woolworths), will get a third to deal with. There is more to the entire situation, as we look at the price of milk in Australia “The battle for the hearts and dollars of Australian consumers has distressed the dairy industry, threatened small shopkeepers and prompted a Senate inquiry“, yet is that it? Consider that the dairy market is suddenly downgraded in revenue in excess of 20%, how can that be fair or even good to the supplier and when that is no longer an option, how will the consumer pay for milk when offers will dwindle to 2 suppliers? Then what will the market do?

Last there is ‘Revealed: how bet365 profits from Chinese punters who risk jail for gambling online’, which is an interesting article by Simon Goodley. It is the subtitle that gets us the first part “Bookmaker ‘rotates website addresses to keep ahead of authorities’, says employee“, which already implies that the cost of doing business and ethics are no longer in synch with one another. Ethicality has become a nuisance, especially when a business is actively ‘keeping ahead of the authorities‘.

Then we read “The gambling group says its legal advice is that it has broken no law by taking bets from the country“, is a local law the only part of legality?

When we consider Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (UK), we see at sections 44 through to 46, three inchoate offences of intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence; encouraging or assisting an offence believing it will be committed; and encouraging or assisting offences believing one or more will be committed. Is that not the implied part of the ‘alleged’ crime when we see the term ‘keeping ahead of the authorities’?

When we look at section 48(3) we see that a person can only be found guilty of the offence under section 46 (encouraging or assisting offences believing that one or more will be committed) if the offence or offences that the jury find the defendant believed would be committed are specified in the indictment. Yet, this is not enough, for the most, it is not clear to me whether this applies to crimes outside the UK, however In Part 1 section 4 we see “For the purposes of section 1(1)(a), a person has been involved in serious crime elsewhere than in England and Wales if he;

(a) has committed a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales;
(b) has facilitated the commission by another person of a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales; or
(c) has conducted himself in a way that was likely to facilitate the commission by himself or another person of a serious offence in a country outside England and Wales (whether or not such an offence was committed).”

This seems to give enough to warrant it all (if the Jury would agree on this). So why is there such an abundance of acts and actions?

You see, the three articles are unrelated, but together they show a massive change in morale and ethics, the kind that people tend not to get back from. This might be the UK (to some extent), but it is clear that these events have been a fact in the US and are starting to get a more stringent grip to the acts of people in both Canada and Australia.

Now for the part that is linking these three views together. Let’s be clear, that this is a personal link, and as such it is debatable on many levels and also that is up to you to agree and disagree. I am not here to path the road for you, I merely speak of where the next place is, and how you get there is up to you. The press seems to favour emotion over logic (to a certain degree), you see, logic is all about reasoning and emotion is about (rashly) acting. The press gets more signals from the emotional reader, so as we react to soaps and reality TV, the press is having a field day cashing in on a league of events, all informative (in their viewpoint), yet overall not that result driven. Is it for that reason that we see a growing calendar on ‘human events’?

As we look at the big pharma piece we see a growing lack of ethicality. They state one thing, whilst pressing other avenues. The statement of moving in one direction, yet not willing to go the entire distance is something entirely unacceptable. We see the stories on how it is all so expensive to create a drug, yet the other side is not told, on how the top 20 are making in excess of half a trillion dollars, whilst in addition their net revenue is around 25%, which is one of the strongest profit margins. At this point we need to take a look at the initial premise of ‘pre-ordaining’ 2 million vaccines. How unbalanced is all this and with margins that large, why are they allowed these tax breaks?

The Bet365 issue could be regarded as an act, likely to be recklessly criminal. If there was no crime, these places could live on a static IP and we would not see the phrase ‘keeping ahead of the authorities‘. We have entered a stage of living where morality is not just taking a backseat, it is leaving the room, add to that a rapidly declining system of ethics and we end up with a change into chaos. You would wonder how a government would allow for that. Well, that is where the issue becomes murky. I think that for some time now, we have been living under a false pretence. Not unlike Sweden, where in 1917 the King’s powers were considerably reduced, becoming a figurehead with only limited political authority. A change that was done in that case for the good of the Swedish people, yet in many other nations big business made a similar change, only they did not remove power of those elected, as a long term strategy they placed themselves ABOVE the law. This is shown in several of my blogs and the acts BBC showed involving GlaxoSmithKline is only the smallest of examples. I discussed this in my blog ‘The Sanctimonious pretender‘ on August 30th where I stated: ‘Big firms consider leaving the Netherlands, says KPMG report‘, the quote “Some of the Netherlands’ biggest companies are considering leaving the country because of the worsening climate for entrepreneurs, according to a new report by consultants group KPMG“. Well, this is not about worsening climates, this is because nations with a monarchy require a fair bit of accountability, which is why the Netherlands and the United Kingdom has seen much stronger measures for the protection of the people and less so in favour of Big Business.

It is important that we seek solutions that require accountability for all, not just those who are not too rich. It is a tall order, but it can be done if we work together. We accept that there is a cost of doing business, but the view as agreed upon seems to differ as to what big business accepts as a valid cost and what everyone else thinks is a valid cost.

In a world of rapid degeneration of values like Ethics, Morality and Accountability we need to make sure that we see a stronger focus in these three values, if not, standing up to big business might no longer be an option.

 

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The Sanctimonious pretender

I saw a smaller headline this morning. It was not a text, but a video from the Guardian. The headline read ‘Why is the United Arab Emirates secretly bombing Libya?’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/aug/29/why-is-the-united-arab-emirates-secretly-bombing-libya-video). The text below the video is “The United Arab Emirates, a small wealthy Gulf state, has been secretly bombing targets in Libya, from bases in Egypt without the knowledge of the US. We explain how the raids reflect new rivalries in the region and are likely to trigger new strains between the west and its increasingly assertive Arab allies“.

There are several sides to this, but let’s start with the obvious ones “without the knowledge of the US“. Since when do we need to tell the US everything? If allies share all information, then can Washington please be so kind to send a 100% backup of their collected NSA data? You see, when we look at the word ally, the Oxford dictionary gives us “A state formally cooperating with another for a military or other purpose“, but the one that is perhaps more apt is “A person or organization that cooperates with or helps another in a particular activity“. So helps or cooperates in a particular activity, not all activities.

There are two questions linked to all this. The first is “how much of an ally is America?” I do not mean this in a negative light. The reality is that as it stands, USA is no longer a super power. They are limited in their actions and as the Democratic administration has given away nearly all power to banks and debt holders, in addition, there is an increasing visibility on just how dependent USA is on their need for oil. The article shapes another side that might have been unintended. It states “they were once united in their fear of Iran“, the fact that USA has been trying to get a dialogue with Iran is unsettling to many. In addition their slow response to the threat ISIS is also seen in a more negative light. The Iranian change has left the impression that USA will talk with all, this left an uneasy taste in the mouths of the conservative gulf monarchies. For if America is willing to take the ‘easy’ path to their oil, as well as the implied move of America to move away more and more out of the middle east is showing them the question, who should be THEIR ally? This could be the economic prosperous situation that the Commonwealth needs, yet would it be prosperous and moreover, how much of an ally will the Commonwealth nations need to become?

This is part of the view that I have had in other areas as well. Big Business seems to regard any nation with a monarchy as a non-positive area. Big Business is all about their powerbase which allows for a more secure hold on any location where politicians are the powerbase for their profit needs, it allows for changes and settings that are beneficial to large corporations. It seems to me that they cannot get the power foundation they so desire. Although phrased in opposition, KPMG made notion (at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2012/10/big_firms_consider_leaving_the.php) of this. They stated in the headline ‘Big firms consider leaving the Netherlands, says KPMG report‘, the quote “Some of the Netherlands’ biggest companies are considering leaving the country because of the worsening climate for entrepreneurs, according to a new report by consultants group KPMG“. It is my view that this is not the actual ‘truth’. As I see it, it should read “Some of the Netherlands’ biggest companies are considering leaving the country because of the required freedom of exploitation that is denied to them“. This is of course my personal view, but considering the tax responsibilities firms have and for now, the pressures on both companies and people for tax accountability in the Netherlands. A board of directors have no national allegiance, just an allegiance for profit. I feel that honest values of accountability have for the most been the best preserved in monarchical states. Which includes the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, and of course the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar. So is there another factor why there is growing uneasy between these states? It seems to me that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have absolutely nothing to gain in the long term to support ISIS, so where are these accusations as well as the implied evidence coming from that they seem to support these Islamic fighters?

The fact that Turkey and Qatar are stated to support Islamic movements is a call for more scrutinies investigations, as that implies that Turkey is now in opposition to its allies US and UK, so what quality evidence is there?

This is in the back of my mind when we look at the evidence. Is it truly the nations, or the larger players in these nations? If large corporations are indeed fuelling political needs of change by giving access to Islamic change, then we have an entirely new game in play. If we consider parts of ‘The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey‘ by Banu Eligür, we see another supporting side. It is the endorsing view by Jack Goldstone from George Mason University that gives us “Eligur shows how Islamists took advantage of the military’s obsession with the left and thus the military’s willingness to ally with them against leftist parties, the growth of a Saudi-supported Islamic business elite, and rapid urbanization, to create expanded networks and opportunities for electoral gains“. This is the side that is only one part. We tend to consider the side of on how Saudi Arabia and Qatar are involved, but we forgot the ‘western part’ in all this. Who exactly are the Saudi-supported Islamic business elite? These people, are they members of the house of Saud or are they exactly the opposite, Islamic members preparing to overthrow the house of Saud and turn a monarchy into whatever comes next. If that ever happens, then we get an entirely new situation. You see, whomever is in charge next can decide on who is allowed into Mecca, I have absolutely no idea what the consequence will be to that city, however I guarantee you that it might be the one spark to set a massive new strain of wars into motion, a destabilisation ISIS has been aiming for, for some time now.

Even though Jordan states to be ready to counter the radical threat, we see a view of widening support for ISIS among Jordanian Islamist fundamentalists inspired by its recent advances in countries neighbouring Jordan, which is a view that many are for now ignoring (likely until it is too late). This would force a massive military change for Israel and Israeli support as it will then be in a worse situation then it was in 1973, almost exactly 41 years ago.

The question becomes, how are they connected? They are not directly connected as events, yet the destabilisation will give a massive boost to the needs of ISIS as the younger population acts and reacts out, not in favour of ISIS, but against Israel due to a multi generation lecture of hatred (read non-acceptance), of the state of Israel. This might become the act tipping the scales in both Saudi Arabia and Oman. For ISIS it would be a win-win premise, if these two nations act out against Israel to appease its population, ISIS would claim to be the Islamic leader against Israel, if these nations hold off, they would create additional discord within the populations of both Saudi Arabia and Oman, which would only push the ISIS agenda forward more strongly.

So who is the Sanctimonious pretender?

As far as I can tell, they are the members of the boards of directors, in several cases just the man at the top who is pushing through support for certain extreme agenda’s so that a long term profit game can be played. The question would become would ISIS keep their word, or will they divide and exterminate this ‘infidel’ based support later on, for if we regard the meaning of infidel as ‘those who doubt or reject the central tenets of one’s own religion‘, are these people not digging their own graves?

Here is an Islamic view on greed: “Watch out for greed because the people before you perished from it. Greed led them to be miserly so they became misers. Greed led them to break the ties (of kinship) so they broke it. Greed led them to sins so they committed sins. (Abu Dawud)“, a view that was created almost a century before Christians went on the Crusades. Even then, Islamic view opposed the utter destruction that greed embraces.

If we do not start acting (read more than planning) for any solution that stops extremism, we might be left without options and the only oil America gets is whatever they can buy from Venezuela, Canada or Russia, which might make for a very uncomfortable oil price and a future we should all enthusiastically avoid.

 

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