Audit oversight: SEC stalls

As the Madoff and Sanford scandals have highlighted, co-operation between regulatory authorities is a crucial protection mechanism for shareholders. The news that the SEC is pulling away from its committment to work with the EU on audit inspection is therefore especially disappointing.

Unlike Canada and Japan who are keen to move forward with mutual recognition of audit oversight bodies, the US doesn’t appear able to make the necessary commitment, according to recent comments by the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy.

The EU is now in the position where it is committed to enabling the US  Public Company Accountancy Oversight Board (PCAOB) undertake inspections but not the otherway round.

At a time when shareholders might be looking to global regulators to be spending more time on ensuring shareholders are receiving the best possible insight into the state of the finances of their investments,  unecessary time and effort is being wasted in duplicate red tape.

Ultimately, the SECs lack of progress flies in the face of  last year’s G20 committment to to strengthen coordination and cooperation, as a matter of priority.

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