EU rules to mirror Sarbanes-Oxley
EU internal markets commissioner Fritz Bolkenstein is to propose registration and inspection procedures that will closely mirror those set out under Sarbanes-Oxley.
Bolkenstein is currently meeting with William McDonough, the chairman of US audit regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, with the intention of reaching a compromise over rules governing European auditors of US-listed companies.
According to the FT Bolkenstein has identified proposals to improve statutory audits that will made by the Commission at the end of the year or the beginning of 2004.
These would standardise EU rules with Sarbanes-Oxley and could pave the way for EU-led inspections, protecting European firms from inspections by the PCAOB.
However it is unlikely, given the length of time it takes for EU legislation to be passed, for new audit rules to become law before the April 2004 deadline for EU auditors to register with the PCAOB.