PracticeAccounting FirmsWyman seeks three-year moratorium

Wyman seeks three-year moratorium

US regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission this week faced a determined assault by UK accountants and politicians seeking to reform the notorious Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Link: Sarbanes-Oxley helps LSE campaign

ICAEW president Peter Wyman flew out to the US on Tuesday to lobby for a three-year moratorium on the tough new rules on auditor independence that will affect non-US companies and their auditors.

SEC officials are set to finalise the rules later this month on 26 January.Wyman spent Wednesday and Thursday locked in talks with Sam Burke and Robert Burns of the SEC’s chief accountant’s office and also with Ethiopis Tafare, acting director of international affairs.

Wyman is trying to persuade them there is ‘a strong case for adopting a transitory period to go through a consultation’.

A spokesman for the ICAEW told Accountancy Age: ‘He’s hopeful.’

At the same time, the Department of Trade and Industry and the European Commission are continuing to heap pressure on the SEC to give exemptions to around 700 non-US companies that are listed on the US stock exchange, and their auditors. About half the FTSE 100 also have US share listings.

The DTI said: ‘The government is continuing to pursue these matters at national and European level. It is continuing to press for UK companies with US listings to be exempted from various certification requirements in the Act on the grounds that they are already subject to strong regulation here.’

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