Short takes, notes and items of interest



F Y I
Tracer of Lost Pensions
   Playing detective, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is looking for nearly 3,000 people owed a total of $10 million in benefits from terminated pension plans. Using a special Internet search page ( http://search.pbgc.gov ) launched December 3 and a toll-free phone number (800-326-LOST) the PBGC has already found 275 people owed over $1 million together.

Catching the Biggest Fish
   Although the Securities and Exchange Commission has more employees than ever before, the total number of investigations launched by the SEC enforcement staff has declined for the second consecutive year, according to the SEC fiscal 1996 annual report. The SEC attributed the decline in cases to the increase in high-profile, labor-intensive investigations such as those for Orange County, California, bankruptcy and alleged improper trading practices of the Nasdaq Stock Market.

A Worldly Look Inside Business
   The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) issued an exposure draft on the scope of activity and work of the financial and management accountant. The purpose of the ED, Management Accounting Concepts , is to build awareness of the value-added nature of management accounting and to provide concepts for "best practices." Copies of the ED can by obtained by calling the IFAC Financial and Management Accounting Committee at 905-525-1034 or by fax at 905-525-3046.

Minority Businesses on Rise
   For African American History Month last February, the Census Bureau compiled pertinent business statistics: The number of African American-owned businesses increased from 424,165 in 1987 to 620,912 in 1992, a growth of 46%, or 20 points more than U.S. businesses as a whole. But these businesses remain small: more than half had receipts under $10,000, and less than 1% had receipts of $1 million or more.

Stumping for the Treasury
   Lawrence Summers, deputy secretary of the Treasury, has been plugging the importance of global trade in recent speeches. At the Brookings Conference "Integrating National Economies: The Next Step," he referred to the United States as the "worlds indispensable nation" in setting the pace for global growth. At the Kennedy School of Government, he emphasized the importance of Russias capital markets and the need for continued reform in Russia.

Big Stipends from Big 6 Firm
   The Deloitte & Touche Foundation named 10 recipients of its 1997 Doctoral Fellowship in Accounting Awards. Each fellow will receive $20,000 over two years. Students, who must have completed two or more semesters of school or the equivalent, can obtain applications through their colleges accounting department or from the Deloitte & Touche Foundation, 10 Westport Road, Wilton, Connecticut 06897. The program, founded in 1956, is funded by the firms active and retired partners.

New at the Helm
   David Mosso was named chairman of the nine-member Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB), which recommends accounting standards for federal government agencies. Mosso was a member of the FASAB from 1978 to 1987, after which he continued serving the board as an assistant director of research. Prior to joining the FASAB, Mosso worked for the Treasury Department.

The Feeling is Mutual
   At the end of 1996, U.S. mutual funds held about $3.5 trillion in combined assets. This is up by more than 25% from $2.8 trillion at the end of 1995, according to the Investment Company Institute, a nonprofit trade association representing mutual funds, unit investment trusts and closed-end funds.

New York Rates the Professionals
   New York State was the first state to license its accountants over a century ago, and is now the first state to use the Internet to inform the public about the licensing and disciplinary status of all members of the states 38 licensed professions. Go to http://www.nysed.gov to look up any CPA or other licensed professional.

Keeping an Eye on Pensions
   Four members of Congress launched the National Commission on Retirement Policy to build a consensus about ways to improve financing of the Social Security system, employer-sponsored pension plans and personal retirement savings. The commission will work for 18 months before it makes final recommendations. Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who will serve as a co-chairman of the commission, said it was time to find solutions to avoid "insolvency of the Social Security Trust fund" and reduce the unfunded liability of pension plans.



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