From the President

By James D. Ratley, CFE

Well, it's official. The experts say we're in a recession.

Actually, in the United States, we've been in it for awhile. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently said the economy reached a peak in December of 2007, and we've been declining ever since.

Some of you might be thinking of starting your own fraud-examination or forensic-accounting business, and you're wondering if you should wait. In this issue's cover article, "Hanging Your Shingle? Heed These Caveats," Ralph Summerford doesn't necessarily recommend against CFEs starting businesses during this recession. Lawyers, consulting firms, government agencies, and companies of all sizes still require the expertise of CFEs, he said.

"There is no best time to hang the shingle regardless of the economic environment," Summerford said. "But unless you have the depth of knowledge, experience, a solid plan, and an abundance of caution to start the business, you might not be able to sustain it even in the best of times."

We've all heard about Swiss private banks, but most of us know few inside details until we see media reports about the indictments of some banking executives for allowing clients to evade taxes by hiding assets. In "Private-bank Internal Controls," Laurent Moreschi writes that the 1934 Swiss Banking Secrecy Act makes private banks very attractive to foreign customers. Unfortunately, that privacy also can enable bank employees to steal from the accounts of valued customers. Read Moreschi's account of how "Stella Inmany" stole more than US$600,000 from an inactive account, and how the bank is installing controls to prevent similar embarrassments in the future.

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