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Alternative Market Briefing

Comment: US-China accounting standoff could have substantial implications if not resolved by year-end

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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Phil Niles
Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: Phil Niles, director at Butterfield Fulcrum, a fund administrator, examined the potential impact of the US-China accounting standoff on hedge funds and investment managers in its most recent commentary, received by Opalesque.

To add to the list of problems in the financial world (European debt crisis, slowing global economy, pending US fiscal cliff and others), there is the US-China accounting issue. "Currently set on simmer, this nuisance, if left unchecked, could quickly rise to a boil," Niles comments.

Chinese stocks listed in the US (many through reverse mergers with existing publicly-traded firms) have gone down over the last year because of issues surrounding the accuracy of their financial statements, he recalls. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a probe into the allegations, but the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was either slow in responding or blocked some data as state secrets.

The SEC handed Deloitte China a subpoena concerning the financials of a firm called Longtop Financial (in September 2011). Longtop is a US-lised Chinese firm registered in the Cayman Islands, accused of fraud. Upon Deloittes refusal to div......................

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