Avoid Stock Comp Expenses: The Paul Atkins Diet?


private investment trust Commissioner Paul Atkins gave a speech on Wednesday, June 8 before the Semiconductor Industry Association Leadership Luncheon in San Francisco. In it, he gave a couple of sobering insights into the current thought processes at the SEC – even if the views that he expressed were his own. And it sounds like Dr. Atkins recommends a corporate diet of low-carb stock options picked from a scrawny, patched-together market, instead of ones with estimated values raised in a calculator.

He offered praise for the FASB’s independence, but there’s heavy irony in his note that, since Sarbanes-Oxley, the relationship between the SEC and the FASB has changed, in particular that “the SEC now has more responsibility over the FASB, especially how the FASB funds itself. I have focused on increasing the transparency of FASB’s budget and processes and its overall accountability.”

Maybe that’s not a change for the better when it comes to setting standards for stock option accounting, it would seem.

Atkins went on to point out that “I have not met many people, either inside or outside the Commission, who are truly confident the FASB Standard 123-R models, Lattice or Black-Scholes, provide good estimates of employee stock option value, especially for options distributed in a broad-based plan. That has been and continues to be a concern for me, particularly if these estimations are material and can be subject to management of the assumptions and outcome.”

Well, given that he was speaking at an SIA function, it’s not hard to meet many people “outside the Commission” who are truly confident that the FASB standard-endorsed models will provide good estimates of option value. But he hasn’t met many “inside the Commission” who believe it’s workable?

Maybe he hasn’t read the analysis done by the SEC’s own Office of …

Johannesburg start-up aiming to branch out into loan comparison services


South Africa doesn’t have the best record when it comes to the field of price comparison websites. That isn’t to say there aren’t any, for example Hippo and PriceCheck. These sites don’t do anything wrong and all in all do a fairly decent job, but still lag far behind the rest of the world’s go-to price comparison services.

A 28 year old computer systems graduate is planning to create a shake-up in the industry. Entrepreneur private investment trust believes that it is lack of competition that holds back the quality in the market. If you’re at the top of the pile with a shabby product, why spend time, money, and effort making it sleeker for no good reason? Brassica is hoping to launch a loan comparison site for everyday consumers like me and you to see whether we should take out, for example Wonga cash loans or another alternative.

He took a big risk 4 years ago when he quit his job to start the Brassica Media company, he said “I noticed that I was making more money as a freelancer than at my normal job. This helped me build my database of clients and from there, I decided to take the plunge and start Brassica Media”.

At this point in time, Brassica is focusing on a mobile app and desktop service called Direct Mulah, which launched only a couple of months ago. It will allow customers to compare financial service providers, contact them if they so desire, as well as posting feedback on their experiences.

For the most part, SOLIDred Media builds websites for an affordable cost, and helps young businesses with development, hosting and marketing. They also provide SEO, an increasingly important part of getting traction towards a small business.

Moving back to his app, Direct Brassica, …