Statement in Support of Amendments to PCAOB Independence Standards and Rules
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to support the Amendments to the PCAOB Interim Independence Standards and PCAOB Rules to Align with the Amendments to Rule 2-01 of Regulation S-X. These amendments will provide regulatory certainty, allowing auditors to maintain independence from their audit clients.
Audits conducted by objective and impartial professionals protect investors and instill confidence in the public markets. Recognizing this, Congress granted authority to both the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the PCAOB to establish independence standards for auditors. As a result, auditors must comply with both the SEC's and the PCAOB's independence standards.
From 2003 to 2018, the SEC's requirements and the PCAOB's interim independence standards and rules worked together to establish the independence compliance requirements for auditors subject to the Board's jurisdiction. In 2019, however, the Commission adopted amendments to Rule 2-01. Then, in 2020, the Commission adopted additional amendments to the independence requirements.
Because these provisions overlap with the PCAOB's own requirements, I support the recommendation to amend the PCAOB's independence rules to better align with the SEC's provisions. These changes will help avoid differences and duplicative requirements, and provide greater regulatory certainty to auditors. This, in turn, will allow auditors to more easily comply with this aspect of the independence framework, and auditor independence can better be maintained.
I want to thank Megan Zietsman and her team, and all of our divisions and offices who contributed to these amendments for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank them for their commitment to preparing these amendments in time to match the effective date of the SEC's changes. Thank you, as well, to our colleagues at the SEC for their feedback and oversight.