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PCAOB Enters into Cooperative Agreement with Norway

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today announced a cooperative agreement with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway for the oversight of audit work performed by public accounting firms that practice in the two regulators' respective jurisdictions.

"With this agreement, Norway's FSA and the PCAOB are joining forces to improve audit quality and protect investors," said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. "I am pleased that the PCAOB is continuing to make progress in overcoming the obstacles that have in the past prevented PCAOB inspections in Europe."

He added, "It is particularly important in these challenging economic times that regulators work together to protect investors in the global financial markets."

This cooperative agreement provides a basis for the resumption of joint inspections of PCAOB-registered accounting firms that are located in Norway and that audit, or participate in audits, of companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets. In 2008, the PCAOB conducted a joint inspection in Norway with the FSA, but has since been blocked from inspections in that country.

This agreement also includes provisions governing the exchange of confidential information between the oversight authorities, consistent with the provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Those provisions amended the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to permit the PCAOB to share confidential information with its non-U.S. counterparts under certain circumstances.

"We value our important cooperative relationship with Norway’s FSA and are pleased that we are able to resume joint inspections in Norway," said Rhonda Schnare, PCAOB Director of International Affairs. "We are working hard to reach similar cooperative arrangements with other jurisdictions in Europe and around the world," she added.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act directed the PCAOB to oversee and periodically inspect all accounting firms that regularly audit companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets. More than 900 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside the United States, spanning 84 countries. There are five registered firms located in Norway.