When is a financial loss not really a loss?




When the politicians get involved. Only a politician or perhaps an accountant from the Big Four could manage to turn a failure into a financial success.

In October, largely hidden from public view, the International Accounting Standards Board changed the rules so European banks could make their balance sheets look better. The action let the banks rewrite history, picking and choosing among their problem investments to essentially claim that some had been on a different set of books before the financial crisis started.

The results were dramatic. Deutsche Bank shifted $32 billion of troubled assets, turning a $970 million quarterly pretax loss into $120 million profit. And the securities markets were fooled, bidding Deutsche Bank’s shares up nearly 19 percent on Oct. 30, the day it made the startling announcement that it had turned an unexpected profit.

The change has had dramatic consequences within the cloistered world of accounting, shattering the credibility of the IASB — the very body whose rules have been adopted by 113 countries and is supposed to become the global standard-setter, including for the United States, within a few years.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

Share This Post

© 2021 AMERICAblog Media, LLC. All rights reserved. · Entries RSS