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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Investment bankers and auditors-more simillar than different

At first blush, the two could not seem more different. How can one compare a highly paid media savvy investment banker, with a lower profile 'backroom' auditor? However, when one starts to go beyond the surface and probe, there are surprising parallels
  1. Regulators/Government authorities outsource work to both:-Merchant bankers are supposed to file a due diligence certificate for a capital issue(atleast in India) while auditors certify financial statements. Both these functions would otherwise come under the regulatory domain
  2. Both deal in their reputation:-A reason for the famed 'IPO day1 gains' is claimed to be that merchant bankers want their reputation preserved, so they deliberately underprice the issue! But jokes apart, reputational capital is big for both auditors and investment bankers, as investors look for big brands when they invest
  3. Both are mandatory-For any capital issue in India(except rights issue under Rs 50lakh i.e presently $1MM under ICDR Guidelines 2009 as amended), one needs to engage a merchant banker, while company regulators, banks and others mandate corporates and others to get an audit done for their own satisfaction
  4. Both are categorized statutorily:-Be it the capital based SEBI classification based on networth or the experience/headcount based empanalment by RBI/C&AG etc, regulators and government agencies have their own categorization of these entities
  5. Code of Conduct:-Both have a code of conduct, although that for auditors is much more tightly enforced.
Of course, there are differences which are there like compensation, conflict of interest etc but still these are minor imo compared to the above points

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