PCAOB to Host Public Meeting on Auditor Independence and Audit Firm Rotation in Houston

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced today that it will host its third public meeting on ways to enhance auditor independence, objectivity, and professional skepticism, including through mandatory rotation, or term limits, for audit firms.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Houston, Texas. It will begin at approximately 8:30 a.m.

The Board issued a concept release on Aug. 16, 2011, that invited commenters to discuss measures that might meaningfully enhance auditor independence, objectivity and professional skepticism.

The release included a number of questions related to mandatory audit firm term limits, such as whether the PCAOB should consider a firm rotation requirement for audit tenures of more than 10 years, or for the largest issuer audits only.

“The concept release was intended to begin the discussion of auditor independence and the factors that can jeopardize that fundamental investor protection,” said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. “This effort is accomplishing a substantive debate, and the PCAOB benefits from the diverse range of views that have been gathered.

“In Houston, the Board hopes to expand upon and further explore themes raised at both the Washington, D.C., and San Francisco public meetings,” Doty said.

The first public meeting on auditor independence and audit firm rotation was held in Washington, D.C., on March 21-22, 2012. The second public meeting was held in San Francisco on June 28, 2012.  A webcast of the March and June meetings can be viewed on the PCAOB website.

The Houston meeting will consist of panel discussions, during which panelists will be invited to present their views on the matters raised in the concept release and board members will have the opportunity to ask panelists follow-up questions. The schedule and list of panelists will be made available closer to the meeting date.

The meeting will be held at the Shell Auditorium, at the Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77252.  It will be open to the public, and also available via webcast on the PCAOB website.