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SEC amends auditor independence rules

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Oct 16, 2020

On October 16, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it adopted final amendments to certain auditor independence requirements in Rule 2-01 of Regulation S-X. Informed by decades of staff experience applying the auditor independence framework, the final amendments modernize the rules and more effectively focus the analysis on relationships and services that may pose threats to an auditor’s objectivity and impartiality.

The final amendments reflect updates based on recurring fact patterns that the Commission staff has observed over years of consultations in which certain relationships and services triggered technical independence rule violations without necessarily impairing an auditor’s objectivity and impartiality.  These relationships either triggered non-substantive rule breaches or required potentially time-consuming audit committee review of non-substantive matters, thereby diverting time, attention, and other resources of audit clients, auditors, and audit committees from other investor protection efforts. The final amendments result in auditor independence requirements that will be used to evaluate specific relationships and services, with a focus on protecting investors against threats to the objectivity and impartiality of auditors.

Review the press release and the statements by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Allison H. Lee and Caroline A. Crenshaw on the SEC’s website.

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