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For this discussion, your focus will be on what asymmetric information, moral hazard, and adverse selection have to do with corporate hiring staff accountants.
Also see the help provided in the discussion preparation.
Consider the following statement:
Many corporations require all staff accountants to hold not only a degree in accounting but also to have a CPA license. There is a substantial higher cost to hiring CPAs.
In your discussion post, address the following:
Speculate on why corporations do not lower their explicit payroll cost by hiring accountants without a CPA. Consider how asymmetric information, moral hazard, and adverse selection may impact the perception of risk.
It may be that the best way to see this week’s discussion is to start with what is a screen and what is a signal. Screening and signaling are behaviors that improve the flow of information between parties. Screening and signaling are a means of lowering information search cost and to reduce impact of asymmetric information. Screening is a purposeful action of a non-informed party to discover some hidden information. Signaling is a purposeful behavior that indicates intent, action taken by an informed party to reveal hidden information.
The requirement of a certification like the CPA is a screen. What risk is HR trying to avoid? What hidden information is HR trying to discover with the screen of a CPA license? What information is sent to applicants by using the CPA as a screen?
Are there unintended consequences of the policy of requiring the CPA? How might one mitigate any intended consequences?
On September 13, 2021, Senator Elizabeth Warren sent FED Chair Jerome Powell a letter [PDF].
In the letter she wrote “Under Janet Yellen’s leadership, the Fed placed Wells Fargo under an asset cap in 2018 due to its ‘widespread consumer abuses and other compliance breakdowns.’ In the more than three years since then, numerous additional revelations have surface about Wells Fargo’s continued unethical and anti-consumer conduct. These new revelations have once again made clear that continuing to allow this giant bank with a broken culture to conduct business in its current form poses substantial risks to consumers and the financial system.” Senator Warren goes on to ask that the Fed revoke Wells Fargo’s status as a financial holding company. The action would require Wells Fargo to separate its consumer bank subsidiary from its other financial activities.
Wells Fargo is an enormous financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. It serves 1 in 3 U.S. households and 10% of U.S. small business.
In Well’s Fargo’s reply, (https://newsroom.wf.com/English/news-releases/news-release-details/2021/Wells-Fargo-Affirms-Focus-on-Building-Strong-Risk-and-Control-Foundation/default.aspx ) it cites progress achieved under the new CEO, Charles Scharf, including:
Three business group have been split into five.
It has created four new functions to provide greater oversight and transparency.
It has brought on board 10 new operating committee members out of the total committee of 17.
It has created a new team design to facilitate oversight of consumer practices.
It has created new enterprise-wide risk assessment with the intent to design new controls.
It has “implemented a new incentive plan for bank branches that is governed by stronger oversight and controls, and focused on customer relationships.”
The Fed continues to maintain that Wells Fargo has not done enough to rein in the incentive failures that revealed the frailty of its corporate governance. We have seen that several of the largest conglomerates in the United States have decided that it is time to divide their agglomerated groups into smaller units for focus and function. Johnson & Johnson will separate its consumer products division and its pharmaceutical division. GE will divide into three units: aviation, energy, and healthcare. Is it time for Wells Fargo to separate its consumer banking business from its other enterprises?
Address the following in your discussion post:
What is the principal-agent problem?
What is the role of corporate governance?
How is corporate culture different than governance?
Can incentive systems align culture with governance?