Thursday, 13 November 2008

Another Measure of D&O Risk?

My grandfather never believed in the efficacy of reforming the criminal mind, "once a crook..."

I don't know Barry Minkow beyond reading the story in the WSJ today (here and on pg1 of Marketplace) but after serving time for a "stock swindle" he seems to have won the praise of the FBI according to the article and is trying to (profit from) pointing out corporate fraudsters.

This reminds me of the early days when Howard Schilit (who never served time) used business school students to demonstrate manipulation of corporate earnings and wrote his book "Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports" (description on Amazon here).

Advisen reached out to Howard, we had a great breakfast meeting listening to how he took some reports on a handful of companies from the grad school lab to an actual business. I always enjoy hearing these stories from entrepreuners like Howard, the courage to start a business using your own family money can't be appreciated enough.

Howard started CFRA in 1994 and sold it on to what is now the RiskMetrics Group (see press release here). Howard brought in an executive from Goldman Sachs to institutionalize his models such that there would be indicative scoring on thousands of public companies while deep forensic due diligence might only be completed on a few hundred public companies.

To provide commercial insurance underwriters with an important measure of risk, especially to those in the D&O market, Advisen has carried the indicative scoring, the full reports and a dashboard of CFRA scores to make risk analysis quicker and more complete. This measure of risk is incorporated into our company exposure look-up pages, available in our risk & insurance search engines and in our configurable underwriting work-ups.

I'm curious whether readers would find Mr. Minkow's research worthy of being included in our risk profiles. His company is the Fraud Discovery Institute here.

Please let me know in the comments or by e-mail.

Thank you
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