Stephen Clapham on IPO Bubbles, Earnings Manipulation, and Balance Sheet Jiggery-Pokery

Real Vision editor Jack Farley welcomes Stephen Clapham, founder of Behind the Balance Sheet and author of “The Smart Money Method.” Using the tools gained as a forensic accountant in the hedge fund business, Clapham analyzes the current ploys that companies use in order to flatter earnings, garnish cash flow, and hide risk. These hijinks include one-time charge-offs, stock-based compensation, and the widespread practice of listing “adjusted earnings” – the holy grail of financial chicanery. Clapham considers the flurry of IPOs and SPAC mergers, which he calls a “bubble,” sharing his views on companies such as Nikola, Airbnb, and DoorDash. Clapham’s article on stock-based compensation can be viewed here: Filmed on December 15, 2020 Key learnings: IPOs and SPAC deals are in a bubble that reminds Clapham of the dot-com crash. Investors should be wary of adjusted earnings, but since almost every company in the S&P 500 employs that metric, research and prudence is required to separate the wheat from the chaff.

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