PracticeAuditLord Sainsbury slams Sarbanes Bill

Lord Sainsbury slams Sarbanes Bill

Attempts made by the United States to force a system of regulation upon foreign accounting firms have been condemned by the UK government as 'an additional layer of regulatory burden'.

Replying to questions in the House of Lords, trade and industry minister Lord Sainsbury confirmed the government has been lobbying Capitol Hill over ‘concerns’ with the Sarbanes accounting bill signed by President Bush this week.

‘We do not want to see extra regulatory burdens piled on British companies,’ Lord Sainsbury said in reply to questions from Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Sharman, the former international chairman of KPMG.

The US legislation will require foreign accountancy firms that are auditing US-listed companies to sign up to a tough system of regulation in the wake of recent accounting scandals.

But Lord Sharman argued that the system regulating the banking industry – host country regulation – would be ‘much more preferable to the extra-territorial application of any state’s legislation’.

Writing in Accountancy Age today, Roger Davis, the head of professional affairs at Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, says: ‘UK auditing will be substantially regulated from the US because we audit SEC-registered clients.’

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