The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with the French High Council for Statutory Auditors (H3C) relating to the oversight of audit firms subject to the regulatory jurisdictions of both regulators. The agreement takes effect immediately.
"France, which is home to a number of companies that have a significant impact on U.S. and global markets, is an important partner in Europe," said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. "This agreement with the H3C is yet another step forward in our continuous effort to strengthen investor protection across borders."
The PCAOB has reached similar agreements with four other European Union member states — the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. Additionally, the Board has agreements with Switzerland and Norway and several non-European regulators.
The agreement with the H3C provides a framework for joint inspections and allows for the exchange of confidential information in accordance with the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 in the U.S. and applicable French law. The provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to permit the PCAOB to share confidential information with its non-U.S. counterparts under certain circumstances. An agreement on data protection is also part of the cooperative arrangement with France.
"The agreement we have reached with the H3C shows the clear commitment to strong audit oversight that our organizations share," said Bruce Wilson, PCAOB Director of International Affairs. "The PCAOB is looking forward to building upon the close relationship we have developed with our French counterparts."
Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the PCAOB oversees and inspects all accounting firms that regularly audit public companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets. More than 900 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside of the United States in 87 jurisdictions. Currently, 25 registered firms are located in France.