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Causes of the Financial Crisis

Description: This report sets out in tabular form a number of the factors that have been identified as causes of the financial crisis that began in 2007. The left column of Table 1 summarizes the causal role of each such factor. The next column presents a brief rejoinder to that argument. The right-hand column contains a reference for further reading. Where text is given in quotation marks, the reference in the right column is the source, unless otherwise specified.
Date: January 29, 2009
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Barriers to Corporate Fraud: How They Work, Why They Fail

Description: The report focuses on the internal controls on American corporations (including corporate governance, business ethics, managerial structure and compensation, internal counsel, and whistleblowers), as well as external controls (government regulation, external auditors and accountants, and the judicial process). A recurring theme is the limited efficacy of many safeguards and watchdogs in cases of "control fraud," where fraud is directed or abetted by top management, and where unethical or abusive practices may become the organizational norm. Another broad question raised by the report is whether the post-Enron scandals were a one-time event, made possible by the stock market bubble of the 1990s and several other unique historical developments which together constituted a "perfect storm," or whether fraud is a cyclical phenomenon associated with the end of long bull markets.
Date: December 27, 2004
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Causes of the Financial Crisis

Description: The financial crisis that began in 2007 spread and gathered intensity in 2008, despite the efforts of central banks and regulators to restore calm. By early 2009, the financial system and the global economy appeared to be locked in a descending spiral, and the primary focus of policy became the prevention of a prolonged downturn on the order of the Great Depression. This report sets out in tabular form a number of the factors that have been identified as causes of the crisis. The left column of Table 1 below summarizes the causal role of each such factor. The next column presents a brief rejoinder to that argument. The right-hand column contains a reference for further reading.
Date: April 9, 2010
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

One Million Personal Bankruptcies a Year: Economic Implications and Policy Options

Description: This report examines various explanations for the rapid rise in personal bankruptcy filings in the United States since 1980, the economic significance of the phenomenon, and policy options. This discussion and analysis provide a background for consideration of legislation before the 105th Congress ( H.R. 3150 and S. 1301), which proposes to reform the consumer bankruptcy process.
Date: May 14, 1998
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: February 4, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: March 19, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: March 28, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: July 24, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: September 18, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Collapse: An Overview of Financial Issues

Description: This report briefly examines the accounting system that failed to provide a clear picture of the firm’s true condition, the independent auditors and board members who were unwilling to challenge Enron’s management, the Wall Street stock analysts and bond raters who missed the trouble ahead, the rules governing employer stock in company pension plans, and the unregulated energy derivatives trading that was the core of Enron’s business. The report also describes related legislation that has received floor or committee action and will be updated regularly.
Date: January 30, 2003
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Enron Loophole

Description: The Commodity Exchange Act exempts certain energy derivatives contracts from regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). These exemptions are popularly known as the "Enron loophole." Soaring energy prices have raised concerns about whether the CFTC has enough information about these unregulated markets to monitor energy trading in a comprehensive manner. A number of other bills in the 110th Congress would impose new reporting or regulatory requirements on the bilateral energy swaps market, which was not addressed by the Farm Bill.
Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Hedge Funds: Should They Be Regulated?

Description: In view of the growing impact of hedge funds on a variety of financial markets, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in October 2004 adopted a regulation that requires hedge funds to register as investment advisers, disclose basic information about their operations, and open their books for inspection. The regulation took effect in February 2006, but on June 23, 2006, a court challenge was upheld and the rule was vacated. S. 1402 and H.R. 2586 would reinstate the SEC's authority. H.R. 2683 would require defined benefit pension plans to disclose investments in hedge funds. In December 2006, the SEC proposed raising the "accredited investor" standard - to be permitted to invest in hedge funds, an investor would need $2.5 million in assets, instead of $1 million.
Date: July 2, 2007
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Auditing and Accounting Reform Proposals: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Description: This report compares the major provisions of three auditor and accounting reform proposals: two versions of H.R. 3763 (as passed by the House on April 24, 2002, and by the Senate on July 15, 2002), and proposed rules that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published on June 26th under its existing authority. H.R. 3763, in its House and Senate versions, and the SEC proposal seek to restore confidence in corporate reporting by enhancing the oversight of financial accounting. All three proposals would create a new oversight body to regulate independent auditors (whose certification the law requires to be affixed to the annual reports of all publicly traded corporations).
Date: July 17, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Auditor Oversight: Proposals for New Regulator

Description: This report provides basic background information on current regulation of auditors and summarizes alternatives now under consideration. Reforms proposed by Congress and the executive branch focus on oversight of the independent auditor, whose responsibility (in the broadest sense) is to certify that a corporation’s accounting statements reflect its true financial condition.
Date: April 18, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

CFTC Reauthorization in 2005

Description: This report provides brief summaries of the issues in the 2005 reauthorization legislation, including (1) the market in security futures, or futures contracts based on single stocks, which were authorized by the CFMA, but trade in much lower volumes than their proponents had hoped, (2) regulation of energy derivatives markets, where some see excessive price volatility and a lack of effective regulation, and (3) the legality of futures-like contracts based on foreign currency prices offered to retail investors.
Date: October 20, 2005
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

CFTC Reauthorization in 2005

Description: This report provides brief summaries of the issues in the 2005 reauthorization legislation, including (1) the market in security futures, or futures contracts based on single stocks, which were authorized by the CFMA, but trade in much lower volumes than their proponents had hoped, (2) regulation of energy derivatives markets, where some see excessive price volatility and a lack of effective regulation, and (3) the legality of futures-like contracts based on foreign currency prices offered to retail investors.
Date: January 19, 2005
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

CFTC Reauthorization in the 109th Congress

Description: This report provides brief summaries of the issues in the 2005 reauthorization legislation, including (1) the market in security futures, or futures contracts based on single stocks, which were authorized by the CFMA, but trade in much lower volumes than their proponents had hoped, (2) regulation of energy derivatives markets, where some see excessive price volatility and a lack of effective regulation, and (3) the legality of futures-like contracts based on foreign currency prices offered to retail investors.
Date: January 3, 2006
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Conservatorship

Description: On September 7, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that play a critical play in the U.S. home mortgage market, in conservatorship. As conservator, the FHFA has full powers to control the assets and operation of the firms. Dividends to common and preferred shareholders are suspended, but the U.S. Treasury has put in place a set of financing agreements to ensure that the GSEs continue to meet their obligations to holders of bonds that they have issued or guaranteed. This means that the U.S. taxpayer now stands behind about $5 trillion of GSE debt. This report provides basic information on the GSEs, the government intervention, and the potential cost to the taxpayer.
Date: September 15, 2008
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Consumer Bankruptcy and Household Debt

Description: Financial distress is most common among lower-income families, but its incidence has grown in all income brackets. This trend suggests that explanations for the rise in consumer bankruptcy filings are more likely to be found in micro-analysis of individuals and groups of debtors than in macroeconomic indicators. This report presents statistics on bankruptcy filings, household debt, and households in financial distress.
Date: February 8, 2002
Creator: Jickling, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department