Big Five Win Concessions on Eve of SEC Vote

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has indicated it will back off from its demand that major US accounting firms sell off their consultancy arms, according to a report in the Financial Times.

SEC regulators are to rule on auditor independence guidelines this Wednesday. The report suggests that the SEC will bow to the requests of the Big Five, and back down from earlier proposals that could have seen the enforced separation of audit and consulting practices.

Several of the major firms have made their opposition to the original proposals known, and the SEC chairman Arthur Levitt could well heed their concerns. But other issues remain outstanding; these include the future of IT consultancy work, and the status of affiliations between firms and their clients.

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