Biotech Executive Pushes for Additional Sarbanes-Oxley Exemption
Several business lobbyists say Section 404(b) in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requiring auditors to attest clients’ internal controls create unnecessary expenses to public companies. In response, lobbyists are asking Congress to give additional exemptions for small and medium-sized companies. Representing the Biotechnology Innovation Organization during a July 18 hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, aTyr Pharma Senior Vice President John Blake testified that biotech companies currently developing drugs do not pose the same risks as bigger companies do with their financial reporting systems. Blake believes minimal benefit is gained from the auditor attestation requirements regarding financial reporting controls.. Read More.
SEC Committee Fails to Reach Consensus on Board Diversity
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies recently failed to agree on proposed changes to improve disclosures regarding board diversity. During its December 7 conference call, panel members held lengthy discussions about the diversity disclosure recommendations but could not reach a consensus to vote. Per Release No. 33-9089, Proxy Disclosure Enhancements, public companies must disclose in proxy statements if diversity plays a role in their director nomination process and how such considerations are made. The release, however, does not provide a clear definition of “diversity,” but gives companies the freedom to determine how the. Read More.
SEC Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Fee Rate
In a press release Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has announced that fees public companies and other issuers pay for registering their securities will be $116.20 per million dollars in fiscal year 2015. Per Section 6(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 13(e) and 14(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC is required to adjust the annual rates for fees paid to levels that reflect projections of how much the agency will generate equal to yearly statutory target amounts. According to the SEC’s projections, fiscal year 2015’s statutory target amount is set for $515 million.. Read More.
PCAOB Looking to Move Forward with Audit Participant Disclosure Standard
As part of a major initiative to help investors receive more information about auditors and their work for public companies, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) is looking to adopt rules based on the proposed Release No. 2013-009, Improving Transparency Through Disclosure of Engagement Partner and Certain Other Participants in Audits. Hoping to issue the new rules soon, the proposed requirement of disclosing the lead partner on an auditor’s report has received the most attention. However, several financial professionals argue that investors may favor details regarding other audit participants. Under Release No. 2013-009, the names of outside firms and. Read More.
Nonprofits Slow to Implement Enterprise Risk Management
Based on a recent survey by the North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative for the American Institute of CPAs, only 13 percent of nonprofits have implemented a formal enterprise risk management (ERM) process. Conversely, 52 percent of public companies and 43 percent of financial services companies surveyed have employed an ERM. Addressing the low rate at a nonprofit conference last month, WeiserMazars consulting partner Bob Cummings identified six ways nonprofits can execute and maintain ERM: Have a risk management governance structure; Follow a risk management framework; Continuously identify risk and the risk event universe; Create and manage a risk profile;. Read More.
SEC’s White Wants Companies’ Directors to be Gatekeepers
Speaking at the 20th Annual Stanford Directors’ College earlier this week, U.S. Securities and Commission (“SEC”) Chair Mary Jo White emphasized the significance of board of directors as the gatekeepers for shareholders of public companies. Relied upon by the SEC, White remarked that the role as gatekeepers allow directors to identify and prevent companies from violating federal securities laws, as well as respond to issues the moment they arise. In regard to directors as gatekeepers, White’s speech also noted: – The board of directors are a company’s most important gatekeepers, and it is by law their responsibility to watch over. Read More.