Schapiro hits back at international accounting convergence myths

by Mario Christodoulou

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21 May 2010

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SEC chief Mary Schapiro

The head of the US markets watchdog has sought to put to rest myths and rumours about the US commitment to international standards, in wide ranging speech to the nation’s most prominent accounting body, yesterday

Mary Schapiro, chairman of the US Securities and Exchanges Commission, told an audience of accountants at the US CFA Institute’s annual conference, she was committed to international standards, but was equally committed to protecting US investors from possible side effects.

“To be clear, while I strongly believe in our commitment to high quality accounting standards, I believe just as strongly that this commitment is only the beginning of the discussion, not the end,” she said.

“The IASB and FASB must remain vigilant that investors needs and protection remain paramount throughout the process.”

She dismissed claims the US were not committed to international standards.

“Let's put this one to rest, right away. And, I can do that by citing the official text of our Commission Statement in Support of Convergence and Global Accounting Standards,” she said.

She also denied the US was dragging its feet.

“This too is wrong... It is important that we take the time to solicit, receive and analyze input from companies, investors and other stakeholders who will ultimately have to put into practice and make use of new standards.”

The US has not made a concrete decision to adopt international standards, Instead it is investigating the impact on US investors and is set to make a decision next year.

Further reading: Remarks at CFA Institute 2010 Annual Conference

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