Board to Establish Auditor Registration System

Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2003

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced today that it will hold its regular monthly public meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 at 12:30 p.m. in the William O. Douglas Room of the Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street NW, Washington, DC.

At this public meeting, the PCAOB will consider whether to adopt, and submit to the SEC for its approval, a registration system for public accounting firms. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 makes it unlawful to participate in the preparation or issuance of an audit report regarding the financial statements of a company whose securities are traded in the U.S. public markets, without being registered with the PCAOB. Audit firms must be registered within 180-days after the SEC certifies that the Board has the capacity to fulfill the requirements of the Act, which is expected to occur not later than April 26, 2003. The Board vote on the registration system would begin a rulemaking process that includes consideration of public comment and, if appropriate, amending the rule following this comment. The registration system’s rules will not become final until approved by the SEC.

The registration system under consideration would apply to all firms that audit companies that are registered for investment in the U.S. public markets, regardless of the domicile of the accounting firm. At the March 4 meeting, the Board will also consider whether to conduct a public roundtable meeting to facilitate the collection of comments from interested parties, including foreign auditors.