EC vents fury at US audit plans

Link: EU warns off SEC

Calling the decision to require registration ‘unnecessary, burdensome and disproportionate’, internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein called for a further suspension of the plans so that compromises can be reached.

‘The European Commission fully shares the goal of having effective audit systems in place… However, this should be done on the basis of internationally acceptable solutions, including mutual recognition of equivalent systems of oversight.’

The board’s decision has meant that non-US firms undertaking audit work for companies with a US listing have until May 2004 to register with the PCAOB compared to a deadline date of October 2003 for US auditors. The EU said that some 280 EU companies currently have a dual listing while auditors of EU-located subsidiaries of US-listed companies would also be affected.

ICAEW president Peter Wyman said he was disappointed that there wasn’t a wholesale pan-European concession from the board but was pleased that the extension could be used to discuss alternatives, such as mutual recognition in countries where there was already effective independent registration and monitoring.

Wyman added that the UK would be prepared to go it alone in talks if the commission proved immovable.

Related reading