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PCAOB Audit Engagement Partner Disclosure Rule Approved

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (“PCAOB”) rule requiring the disclosure of the engagement partner and other participating accounting firms in an audit in Release No. 34-77787, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rules to Require Disclosure of Certain Audit Participants on a New PCAOB Form and Related Amendments to Auditing Standards. Per the release, audit firms will have to disclose such information when filing the new PCAOB Form AP, “Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants.” The lead audit firm must also make known the extent of other auditors. Read More.

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SEC Nominees Blocked by Democrats

Four Senate Banking Committee Democrats have blocked the nominations of Lisa Fairfax and Hester Peirce to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). During an April 7th voice vote, Sens. Robert Menendez, Jeff Merkley, Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Warren expressed their dissatisfaction over the nominees’ answers on a political spending disclosure rule they want passed. Senator Warren also remarked that Peirce’s nomination is risky because of her disapproval of the Dodd-Frank Act reforms. The SEC had no comment regarding the vote. More on the SEC nomination vote is available on the U.S. News website.

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SEC Approves PCAOB’s 2016 Budget

With a 2-1 vote, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has approved the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (“PCAOB”) budget for 2016. This year’s spending plan is $257.7 million, which is a 2.7 percent increase from the audit regulator’s 2015 budget ($250.9 million). The PCAOB estimates that its 2016 total support fees will be $253.3 million. Approximately $220.9 million of those fees are expected to come from public companies, while $32.4 million will come from broker-dealers. SEC Commissioner Michael Piwowar was the lone dissenting vote, favoring a more modest increase in the accounting support fee. Piwowar also expressed concern over. Read More.

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Montana and Massachusetts Officials to Challenge Regulation A+

In federal appeals court later this month, state securities regulators and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) will square off over the agency’s Regulation A+ amendments under the JOBS Act. Montana and Massachusetts officials seek to overturn the capital formation rule, contending it overlaps state management of certain securities offerings. Issued in June 2015, Release No. 33-9741, Amendments to Regulation A, the rules increase the amount companies can raise (up to $50 million) in transactions that are compared frequently to small-scale initial public offerings, but have lesser disclosure and accounting requirements than more traditional registered offerings. The final rules allowed companies to. Read More.

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SEC Establishes Risk and Strategy Office

Helping strengthen its oversight of financial advisers, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has announced the creation of the Office of Risk and Strategy. The new unit will be based out of Washington, D.C., and led by Peter Driscoll, who will manage a staff that examines investment advisers and mutual funds. Driscoll said he plans to focus on further developing new tools and techniques to increase the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ risk analysis and surveillance. More on the SEC’s Office of Risk and Strategy is available on the Investment News Web site. Registration is required.

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SEC’s Audit Committee Reporting Project Halted

Despite receiving over 100 comment letters in regard to Concept Release No. 33-9862, Possible Revisions to Audit Committee Disclosures, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has decided to put the project on hold. Last month, SEC Chief Accountant James Schnurr said he does not expect any progress in the short term regarding the agency’s efforts to improve audit committee disclosures in proxy filings. Schnurr contributed the decision to the SEC’s inability to reach a consensus on a course of action from the comments submitted. At this time, Schnurr’s staff is reviewing the comments more closely to determine the project’s next. Read More.

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