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23rd November 2022
Supreme Court to allow House panel access to Trump's tax returns
After a three-year struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court has delivered a huge setback to Donald Trump by allowing a House committee to get six years' worth of the former president's tax returns. The court rejected Trump's attempt to prevent the IRS from providing the documents to the House Ways and Means Committee without providing any justification or public opposition. The IRS is now in a position to release the returns, and it might do so right away. The Ways and Means Committee has been racing the calendar to obtain the records before Republicans assume control of the House in January. A decision granting Trump’s request would have kept the records sealed until the new Congress convened. U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who is chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, said: "At long last the charade should today be over and we should get these documents transmitted to the desk of our committee chairman as soon as possible." In a Truth Social post early Wednesday, Trump said: "It is unprecedented to be handing over Tax Returns, & it creates terrible precedent for future Presidents." A federal appeals court in Washington ruled on a 3-0 vote the committee was entitled to the documents. A Treasury Department spokesman said Tuesday the department will comply with the appeals court decision. 
AICPA scheme looks to help talent 'crunch'
The signing of Liberty Bank, Aon and HP to the Registered Apprenticeship for Finance Business Partners Program has been announced by the AICPA and the Department of Labor. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said that the program aims to cultivate highly engaged candidates for employment in financial jobs and expand the pool of qualified professionals. It “will help ensure diverse, skilled teams are ready to fill financial jobs.” Tom Hood, executive vice president of business engagement & growth at the AICPA, said that the program “establishes a cohort of employees that a finance leader can develop and monitor over time to greatly increase the chance of developing a highly engaged, more skilled, long-term employee.” Under the program, the employer will select and hire apprentices and provide on-the-job training and mentoring. The employer will communicate with the AICPA on trainees' progress and offer feedback on the effectiveness of the program.
FASB seeking feedback on proposed new chapter of its Conceptual Framework
The FASB is inviting feedback on a proposed new chapter of its Conceptual Framework related to the recognition and derecognition of an item in financial statements. The proposed chapter, Chapter 5 of FASB Concepts Statement No. 8, Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting, sets recognition and derecognition criteria and guidance on when an item should be incorporated into and removed from financial statements, according to a news release. Stakeholders are asked to provide input on three proposed recognition criteria an item should meet to be recognized in financial statements, subject to the pervasive cost constraint and materiality considerations.
DEI and accounting
Marcus Hayle, Principal Manager of Pricing & Monetization at Intuit, explains why diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in accounting firms is everyone's responsibility. He says that while it is excellent to provide training around DEI at work, actually putting these principles into action can be easier said than done. Mr. Hayle contends that the values of DEI each have their own important learnings and impacts, but they all come back to one thing: A personal mindset that prioritizes openness, awareness, and compassion for others.
GSAM fined $4m over ESG failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission has fined Goldman Sachs Asset Management $4m for failing to follow its policies and procedures involving environmental, socially oriented and other investments. The charges were specifically over "policies and procedures failures involving two mutual funds and one separately managed account strategy marketed as Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investments," the regulatory agency said.
Wall Street concerned over retail stocks
As customers start to tighten their belts in preparation for the key holiday shopping season, Wall Street is beginning to worry that retailers will not be able to recover from a year-long stock market fall. Bloomberg notes that some traders are clearly betting against the sector or hedging their exposure to even deeper losses. This cautious approach, it says, is understandable. Target tumbled after announcing that sales trends softened in October, calling out weakness in key gift areas like toys. The National Retail Federation also predicted that holiday sales would grow at a significantly slower pace than last year. Meanwhile, Amazon projected the slowest holiday-quarter growth in its history, sending its market value briefly below $1trn. Mark Stoeckle, CEO of Adams Funds, commented: "The consumer is going to be looking for deals, and that will end up likely pressuring margins. So if you believe that, why would you own these stocks right now?” During the third quarter, the firm’s Adams Diversified Equity Fund, offloaded stakes in Target and Walmart in favor of more defensive consumer stocks, like beverage companies and Tractor Supply Co., which sells animal feed and farm equipment.
U.S. consumers are still applying for credit cards
Despite the Federal Reserve aggressively raising borrowing costs this year, U.S. consumers continued to seek out more credit cards, which decreased demand for mortgages, auto loans, and other forms of credit, according to research from the New York Fed. According to the most current credit access survey from the New York Fed, application rates for credit cards "remained robust" this year, reaching 27.1% in October, up from 26.5% a year earlier and above the pre-pandemic level of 26.3% in February 2020. In contrast, after a comeback in 2021, credit application rates overall slightly decreased this year. The study showed that demand is  strongest from consumers with high credit scores. Application rates for people with credit scores over 760 were above pre-pandemic levels, while rates for consumers with credit scores below 680 were below pre-pandemic levels.
OECD: U.K. is second-worst performing economy in rich world
A new forecast from the OECD predicts the U.K. will be among the worst performing economies in the rich world next year. The forecasts are the first to come from a major international institution following the Government’s autumn statement last week. The OECD said that the British economy was on course to contract by 0.4% of GDP next year with GDP only rising 0.2% in 2024. Among G20 nations, only Russia is forecast to perform worse over the next two years. In the European Union, Germany and Finland are on course for the worst performance contracting by 0.3% of GDP in 2023. The OECD’s expectation for the U.K. is more pessimistic than the U.K.'s Office for Budget Responsibility, which forecasts a relatively robust return to growth in 2024 after a 1.4% contraction next year. The U.K.’s downturn will be driven by “reduced purchasing power and tighter monetary policy [that] are expected to take a toll on consumer spending, and rising long-term interest rates will lead to a slowdown in the housing market,” the OECD said. “Business investment will remain subdued over the projection period due to a higher cost of capital and lingering uncertainty.” 

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