Information for Auditors of Broker-Dealers

Background

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 gave the PCAOB oversight of auditors of broker-dealers registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The PCAOB has registration, inspection, standard-setting, and disciplinary authority over the auditors of broker-dealers.

When broker-dealers file their annual reports with the SEC, they are required to include their financial statements and supporting schedules, typically along with audit reports prepared by PCAOB-registered public accounting firms.

Broker-dealers also are generally required to file compliance or exemption reports, along with examination or review reports that are prepared by the same firms that prepared the audit reports. The audits, examinations, and reviews are required to be performed in accordance with PCAOB standards.  

Inspections

The Dodd-Frank Act authorized the PCAOB to establish, by rule, an inspection program for auditors of broker-dealers.

The law leaves to the Board, subject to the approval of the SEC, important questions concerning the scope of the program and the frequency of inspections, including whether to differentiate among categories of broker-dealers, and whether to exempt any categories of auditors.

In June 2011, the PCAOB established an interim program to inspect these auditors and identify and address with them any significant issues  observed in their audits and related attestation engagements.

Annual Report on the Interim Inspection Program Related to the Audits of Brokers Dealers 

The PCAOB publishes a summary inspection report each year.

Enforcement

The PCAOB exercises its enforcement authority, where appropriate, on audit, attestation, independence, and other deficiencies identified in the audits of broker-dealers.

The Board has instituted disciplinary actions against auditors of broker-dealers, including proceedings that resulted in public enforcement orders that imposed sanctions, such as revoking the registration of firms, barring individuals from associating with a registered firm, and imposing civil money penalties on firms and individuals. 

Standards and Staff Guidance

All audits and related attestation engagements of broker-dealers for fiscal years ended on or after June 1, 2014, are required to be performed  in accordance with PCAOB standards.

PCAOB standards and staff guidance of specific relevance to auditors of broker-dealers include:

Outreach

The Board is committed to outreach to auditors of broker-dealers.

The PCAOB hosts forums for auditors of broker-dealers. Topics include PCAOB inspection findings,  standard-setting activities, enforcement matters, and other issues of interest to broker-dealer auditors.

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