Opening Remarks

Good morning.

I would like to join my fellow Board members in welcoming members of the investor advisory group and everyone who is observing this event, in person or over the internet. I would also like to thank our IAG members for the time they are taking out of their busy lives to join us here today and for the time they put into their working groups. Your experiences and insights are invaluable as we consider how best to achieve our mandate to protect investors.

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, it was gratifying to hear from panelists at last week's meeting on auditor independence, objectivity and skepticism that the Act and the PCAOB have improved the quality and reliability of financial information that is so important to investors. Based on the number of comment letters we received on the topic of auditor independence, objectivity and skepticism — over 620 — this clearly is an area in which many people have an interest. I am pleased that we received substantial input from members of audit committees, given their important role in representing investors and ensuring the independence of auditors. It will be a challenge for us to forge a path forward, given the diversity of opinions we have heard, but I know that we will gain valuable insights today as we hear more from all of you about investor perspectives on auditor independence.

Having served on the Board for just over a year, I have been through several rounds of meetings with the various advisors to the Board. The amount of substantive, well thought-out input we receive during these meetings is remarkable. Although the views expressed are not always consistent, all of our advisors share the desire to improve audit quality and the reliability of information provided to investors. As I consider all of the different perspectives, I often find myself trying to understand better how information is used by investors in making their decisions, and how our auditor oversight activities can help investors obtain the information they most need. During today's discussions, I therefore may ask you to elaborate on those issues in the context of the specific topics on the agenda.

I look forward to your working group reports and the discussions to follow. I want to thank Board Member Harris and his staff, Joanne O'Rourke-Hindman, Jennifer Jumonville and David McGarry for their efforts to make this a productive and informative meeting.