SEC gives Big Five more time

The extra day will take place the day after the third public hearing in Washington on 20 September, the Financial Times reported today.

SEC chairman Arthur Levitt said that since the Big Five would be most affected by the proposed rules on auditor independence, they should be given more time to have their say.

SEC proposals to restrict the non-audit activities of firms to avoid conflicts of interest have angered KPMG, Arthur Andersen and Deloitte & Touche, who believe their independence is not compromised by offering consulting services.

Earlier this week KPMG chief Stephen Butler cancelled his planned appearance at the New York hearing because he was concerned he had not been allocated enough time to have his say.

It is not yet known whether Butler will use the extra day to give his evidence after all.

Recent debate at the SEC hearings has focused on the firms’ contention that as yet no audit has been comprimised by attempts to gain consultancy work with the same client.

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