SEC

Practice

SEC Settles First Cases Involving Fair Disclosure

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the results of three test cases involving illegal selective disclosures of material information to analysts or institutional investors. Under Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), which took effect two years ago, companies are required to release information to the public at the same time they provide it to securities professionals.Highlights of the three test cases and their resolution:Siebel Systems paid a $250,000 fine.

SEC Proposes Innovative Auditor Independence Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission has agreed to propose for comment significant changes to current practices and requirements for auditor independence. Some proposals contain innovative solutions that go beyond the mandates of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Comments from accounting firms will be especially critical on these rule proposals.

SEC Proposes Audit Workpaper Retention Rules

As required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission has developed proposed rules regarding the retention of audit documents, including e-mails and electronic records. Currently, audit records retention policies involve considerable judgment, and accounting firms vary in how long they keep records. The proposed rules would change this by:Specifying that certain types of audit documents must be retained by auditors for a five-year period subsequent to the completion of an audit or review of a registrant's financial statements.

PCAOB Hesitates to Endorse AICPA's Audit Standards

At its first meeting on November 13, 2002, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) stopped short of temporarily endorsing audit standards issued by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The meeting was chaired by William Webster, even though he has already resigned from his position as Chairman on a permanent basis.Mr. Webster suggested the board consider adopting the existing standards on an interim basis.

Andersen's Prosecutor Considered for SEC Chairman

It's hard to say whether this is good news or bad for accountants.

Top 10 Mistakes in Working Capital Management

In a sluggish economy, working capital management is both a business necessity and a strategic tool.

PCAOB Head Quits, Signaling New Ballgame for Accountants

Former FBI and CIA chief William Webster resigned as chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), signaling the start of a whole new ballgame for the accounting profession. The profession is widely blamed by the media for the sequence of events leading to Mr. Webster's rushed appointment as a "moderate" chairman.

Chairman Pitt Defends Record, Gets Standing Ovation

Acting now as a lame duck chairman following his resignation last week, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt defended his record, received a standing ovation, and offered comforting words to anyone who has ever been in a similar situation. Chairman Pitt, a brilliant securities attorney who has been characterized as "seldom wrong, never in doubt," was speaking at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry Association in Boca Raton, Florida.

SEC Chief Accountant Resigns Amidst Controversy

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief Accountant Robert K. Herdman resigned last week effective immediately. He was criticized for his role in the controversial appointment of William Webster as the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) chairman.Mr.
Community News

BDO Seidman Report Adds to Turmoil in Post-Pitt Era

Confidential documents released by BDO Seidman are fueling concerns about the future of accounting reform. The documents dispute statements made by William Webster, head of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).Mr. Webster chaired the audit committee of US Technologies, a company now facing fraud charges. He reportedly told the press the company fired BDO over a billing dispute. But BDO says it was an accounting dispute.

Harvey Pitt Resigns - PCAOB Controversy Continues

Things continue to change very rapidly in the opening days of the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Here are the latest developments in the continuing saga of our government's efforts to protect the public from the accounting misdeeds of corporate America:Harvey Pitt, under fire for failure to disclose to the other SEC Commissioners about William Webster's involvement on the audit committee of US Technologies, a company under investigation for financial fraud, has resigned.

SEC to Hold Hearings on Credit Rating Agencies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will hold two full-day hearings this month on credit rating agencies. Like securities analysts, credit rating firms have come under fire in recent months for not providing sufficient warnings of the downfall of corporate giants like Enron and WorldCom.The hearings will be held on Nov. 15th and 21st at the SEC's offices. Each hearing will cover the same topics but with a different set of participants.
Community News

E&Y Auditors May be Charged by SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued Wells notices to three auditors from Big Four firm Ernst & Young. The notices advise the auditors that they are likely to be the subject of civil charges by the federal agency and give them an opportunity to explain their actions in an effort to show why they should not be so charged.The possible charges stem from an audit of CUC International, a company that merged with HFS Inc.

PCAOB Challenged, Chair Implicated in Fraud Case

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked the agency's inspector general to review the selection process for the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) following press reports that newly-appointed Chairman William Webster is implicated in a fraud case involving past corporate ties.The press reports raise questions about the extent to which the facts of the case were disclosed and appropriate inquiries made. Mr.

SEC Moves to Curb Reporting and Trading Abuses

As part of its efforts to restore confidence in the capital markets, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) tentatively approved several new curbs aimed at the types of reporting and trading abuses involved in recent accounting scandals. The curbs will be formalized in releases and exposed for a 30-day comment period.

Born of Bitter Debate, PCAOB Gets a Rocky Start

All five members of the new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) were named, despite a bitter debate at an open meeting of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At the core of the controversy were concerns that the new board would start off in a "deep hole," faced with a steep learning curve that would slow the pace of badly needed reforms. The new board will consist of: William H. Webster, chairman for a five-year term expiring in 2007.

New Oversight Board Has no Operating Capital

Congress has failed to authorize funds for the new Public Corporate Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been given the task of staffing the board no later than October 28, 2002, but as yet there is no budget for the new organization.The SEC expects to meet its October 28 deadline for appointing the five-person staff to the PCAOB, but there are no funds for the board.
Practice

SEC Proposes Disclosures About Ethics and Controls

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously agreed to issue for public comment proposed rules that would implement recent legislative reforms enacted in response to accounting scandals. The proposed rules will require public companies to report on their internal controls, codes of ethics, and the financial expertise of their audit committees.

Europe Mulls U.S.-Style Accounting Oversight Board

Negotiations over the possible exclusion of European auditors from certain provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act ended in compromise. European Union (EU) Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said Europe might consider forming its own U.S.-style accounting oversight board.The concession was made after U.S.
Community News

BDO Cyprus Settles With SEC

BDO Cyprus, an overseas affiliate of BDO Seidman, has reached a settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over the audit of collapsed company ACLN Ltd.

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