SEC Eases Auditor Independence Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission, in an effort to promote a calm and orderly return to stock market trading, has agreed to ease several rules.

In particular, SEC chairman Harvey L. Pitt has announced that effective immediately, accounting firms may provide bookkeeping services and aid in the recovery of records for clients with offices in and around the World Trade Center. Providing such services will not violate auditor independence rules that were issued last year.

Additional restrictions that have been eased in hopes of restoring the flow of free market capitalism include:

  • Mutual funds may borrow from and lend to related parties.
  • Publicly held companies may buy back their own shares without being limited by the timing and volume rules that normally apply.
  • Brokerage firms may calculate new capital without considering the days the market was closed.

The SEC is available to answer questions and respond to complaints at a new hot line that has been established at 1-800-732-0330.

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