On November 21, 2000 the SEC finalized and posted its release adopting rule amendments regarding auditor independence, which the Commissioners voted to adopt on November 15. Revision of the Commission’s Auditor Independence Requirements, Release Nos. 33-7919, 34-43602, 35-27279, IC-24744, IA-1911, FR-56 (Nov. 21, 2000).
The controversial rule amendments provide that the SEC will not recognize an accountant as independent, with respect to an audit client, if the accountant is not, or a reasonable investor with knowledge of all relevant facts and circumstances would conclude that the accountant is not, capable of exercising objective and impartial judgment on all issues encompassed within the accountant’s engagement.
The rules identify nine specific non-audit services that are deemed inconsistent with the auditor’s independence, some of which were already restricted, and require increased proxy statement disclosure for audit services.
Less controversially, the amendments also significantly reduce the number of audit firm employees and their family members whose investments in, or employment with, audit clients would impair an auditor’s independence.
The SEC has compiled links to related materials, including the adopting release and a fact sheet, at http://www.sec.gov/news/whatshot.htm#aud
Copyright 2000, John M. Baker, Esq., Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, LLP, 1220 19th Street, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036 – (202) 822-9611- Fax (202) 822-0140 This article was originally posted to the FundLaw List, http://www.egroups.com/group/fundlaw. To subscribe to FundLaw, send a blank e-mail to email@example.com
Nothing herein is intended as legal or financial advice. The law is different in different jurisdictions, and the facts of a particular matter can change the application of the law. Please consult an attorney or your financial advisor before acting upon the information contained in this article.
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