Monday, March 10, 2008

A PCAOB Opportunity

"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced an agreement with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to discourage inflated appraisals by enforcing new standards in the home-mortgage market. ... The code bars lenders and their representatives from pressuring appraisers to supply inflated estimates of property values, which are widely viewed as an important contributor to the mortgage crisis. Appraisers have long complained that they risked losing business if they didn't appraise homes at values that would allow loans to be made. ... Fannie and Freddie also agreed to create an independent organization to monitor the new appraisal standards. Their main regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight [OFHEO], approved the new code", WSJ, 4 March 2008.

We are witnessing the "SEC-ization" of the mortgage business with OFHEO as the SEC, Fannie and Freddie as underwriters and appraisers as CPA firms. We need one more organization to made the ensemble complete, the "independent" monitoring organization. I nominate the PCAOB. Why not? It already exists and has shown tremendous competence in regulating the CPA profession. Hey Mark Olson (MO), how about it? This looks like a natural PCAOB "product extension". Hey, MO, get on with it.

Seriously, this appears to be a "pass the buck" operation to blame the mortgage mess on the least well politically connected group responsible for it, appraisers.


Anonymous said...

I would even go much further and say the PCAOB and the SEC should ask congress for more power to control/regulate the Auditing Profession. The PCAOB has slammed E&Y and others.(
But the PCAOB lacks real power to punish and enforce a change in behavior in the Auditing Profession on key judgements they make. Auditors are tempted to turn a blind eye and they do. They their lawyers spin the stories when the outcomes turn unfavorable. Someone needs to reign in the CPA companies who should accept responsibility rather than abdicate it to clients.

Independent Accountant said...

I was being facetious. I think the PCAOB should be disbanded. See my other posts about it. I think the PCAOB is a fraud. The "PCAOB lacks real power" you write. Are you kidding? The PCAOB could suspend say E&Y if it chose. The "PCAOB has slammed"? You and I live in different worlds. Are you a Big 87654 partner looking for PCAOB "cover" for your misfeasance and malfeasance?