Risk & Compliance

PCAOB Drums Up Support in Asia

Officials from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board spent the week meeting with accounting industry regulators in Asia to move forward on ...
Stephen TaubMarch 23, 2007

The group that oversees the accounting profession has reached out to its counterparts in Asia to discuss cooperation on auditor oversight. Mark Olson, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and board member Charles Niemeier participated in a meeting of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) in Tokyo on Thursday to discuss topics relevant to cooperation between the two groups, noted a PCAOB announcement. At the meeting, Olson said the PCAOB would become a full member of the newly created IFIAR.

In addition, Olson and Niemeier met with the PCAOB’s counterparts in Japan, South Korea, and China to foster greater collaboration between the foreign regulators and the United States. In Japan, for example, the duo met with the Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board and the Japanese Financial Services Agency. “The PCAOB strongly believes that dialogue and cooperation among auditor regulators are critical to every regulator’s ability to meet the challenges that come with the increasingly complicated and global capital markets,” said Olson in a statement.

In Seoul the two met with the Korean Financial Supervisory Commission and the Korean Financial Supervisory Service to discuss ways to improve coordination and set the framework for cooperation during inspections of audit firms that fall within the regulatory jurisdiction of both the PCAOB and the Korean regulators. Niemeier also traveled to Beijing to discuss developments in auditor oversight with the P.R. China Ministry of Finance and the China Securities Regulatory Commission. “I am encouraged that increasing numbers of countries are taking steps to enhance auditor oversight,” said Olson. “Our discussions this past week with our Asian counterparts were especially informative and helpful in this regard.”

Securities and Exchange Commission officials also were in Asia this week, working with regulators in India. On Friday, the SEC announced the completion of its first foreign regulator training program, which was primarily focused on investment companies and investment advisers. The four-day program in Mumbai was part of a larger technical assistance program launched in 2000 between the SEC and the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

“This program benefits investors in each of our countries. In today’s increasingly global securities marketplace, sharing views among regulators is essential to effective, forward-thinking regulation that protects investors and promotes healthy, fair and efficient capital markets,” noted SEC chairman Christopher Cox in a statement.

In the past 18 months, the SEC has provided training to more than 300 officials in India. In 2006, the SEC provided technical assistance training to more than 1,000 foreign officials in China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.