A Plus

The big four

April 2018

PwC audit approved Facebook policies

PwC told Facebook last year that it had sufficient privacy protections in place after the Cambridge Analytica data breach, reported The New York Times. The social media giant’s privacy controls were operating with adequate effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance, according to an audit by PwC and its report submitted to the Federal Trade Commission in early 2017. During the assessment period of February 2015 to February 2017, Facebook was aware that a researcher based in Britain had provided political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica with private data from millions of Facebook users.

Ping An healthcare is biggest IPO of 2018

Ping An Good Doctor, a spin-off of Ping An Insurance Group, raised HK$8.77 billion in the largest Hong Kong initial public offering this year, the Financial Times reported this month. The listing is expected to fuel investor demand and be a catalyst for a large potential pipeline of technology IPOs this year. The flotation is the city’s largest since ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance raised HK$11.9 billion last September. It comes just after the Hong Kong Stock Exchange unveiled its new listing rules, enabling companies deemed “innovative” to list with dual-class share structures, giving founders greater voting rights over ordinary shareholders.

Alphabet earns more, thanks to new rule

Google’s parent company Alphabet reported more-than-expected earnings and revenue during the first quarter of this year, thanks in part to a new accounting rule that requires it to disclose unrealized gains and losses on non-marketable equity investments, including its stake in Uber and Airbnb, on the financial statement. About US$2.4 billion of Alphabet’s profit of US$9.4 billion were attributable to a new accounting method, reported Reuters. The change added about US$3.40 per share to the company’s earnings during the period. The company’s revenues rose 26 percent year-on-year to US$31.1 billion during the quarter, fueled by Google’s growing advertising business.

Britain reviews audit watchdog

Britain has decided to review its audit watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), to ensure it continues to drive high corporate standards, announced Business Secretary Greg Clark this month. According to Reuters, the move comes amid corporate scandals that have raised concerns over the audit work of accounting firms. The review of the FRC, led by John Kingman, Chairman of insurer Legal & General, will assess how the regulator is run, its impact, and powers. The watchdog has been criticized for being too slow to intervene in accounting scandals, forcing it to rely on other regulators to take action.