PCAOB Concludes 11th Annual International Institute on Audit Regulation

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board last week hosted its 11th annual International Institute on Audit Regulation, discussing a variety of topics, including key international developments, trends in initial public offerings, audit firm culture, technology and data analytics, financial fraud and auditors, and investor and director perspectives on auditing.

Nearly 75 officials from audit regulators in 39 non-U.S. jurisdictions, as well as 10 officials from seven international organizations, attended the Institute in Washington on December 7-8. The Institute provides a forum for robust dialogue among regulators from all over the world on timely and relevant audit issues that affect investor protection and the health and stability of the global financial markets.

"Our annual International Institute on Audit Regulation brings together audit regulators from around the world to exchange views and discuss topics of mutual interest," said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. "The discussions at this year's event were robust and wide-ranging and, I believe, will benefit the important work performed by audit regulators in the interest of investor protection and improving audit quality."

Jay Clayton, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, provided a special introduction for guest speaker John C. Bogle from the Vanguard Group's Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, whose topic was, "The Modern Corporation and the Public Interest."

Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., a senior fellow at Harvard, spoke about, "How to Create a Culture of Integrity."

Professor David L. Yermack, from New York University's Stern School of Business, spoke about blockchains and the auditing profession.

Professor Eugene Soltes, from Harvard Business School, talked about his research on why white collar criminals engage in fraudulent behavior, and potential improvements to corporate compliance and whistleblower programs.

The Institute featured panel discussions among audit regulators, academics, investor representatives, and corporate governance experts from jurisdictions around the world on a number of topics, including key international developments; coordination among audit regulators; firm culture, auditor behavior and professional skepticism; financial fraud and the evolution of firms and its impact on inspections.

In addition, a panel of investors and corporate governance experts provided their perspectives on the role of auditors in protecting investors and on important priorities for audit regulation.

Preceding the Institute, the PCAOB also hosted a half-day introductory session for new or developing audit regulators on the mandate and operations of the PCAOB.

"The participation of guest speakers and panelists who are highly respected experts in their fields allowed us to present a diverse and relevant program to further the dialogue on audit regulation and audit quality," said PCAOB Director of International Affairs Bruce Wilson. "This program is an important part of our international outreach and reflects our collaborative approach to working with our international counterparts."

Approximately 900 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside the United States in 89 jurisdictions. The PCAOB established the International Institute in 2007.