By Christopher L. Wallace, CPA, Business Assurance & Advisory Services Partner | Financial Services Industry Team
New SEC Proposal Supports Business Friendly Approach to Regulation for Broker-Dealers
In my previous article, Senators Introduce the Small Business Audit Correction Act, I wrote about a bill introduced in the Senate on October 30, 2019, that would exempt smaller brokers from certain audit and reporting requirements that are better suited for larger entities. More recently, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it plans to issue a proposal by September 2020 that would scale back the annual reporting and audit requirements for some classes of broker-dealers. Seemingly announcing that it has no intention of waiting for Congress to act, SEC chairman, Jay Clayton, has stated that he believes a “one size fits all” regulatory regime is “unduly burdensome for smaller firms”. This mentality is in line with the business friendly approach to regulation under the Trump Administration.
The SEC oversees the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, (PCAOB), which continues to work on a plan to set up a permanent inspection program for audits of broker-dealers (the “temporary inspection process” has been in place for over five years). In a September 2019 speech, SEC Chief Accountant, Sagar Teotia, said he believes that requirements should be “commensurate with the risks that regulation seeks to lessen”. In other words, the SEC believes the PCAOB should consider size and complexity of audits of regulated businesses and that the same answer may not apply to every broker-dealer audit.
Hopefully this common sense alternative gains some traction and eases the financial accounting and reporting burden on smaller non-carrying broker-dealers.
Our Financial Services Industry team will keep you updated on any changes regarding this proposal and other regulatory changes that may impact your Financial Services business.
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