The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to publish a concept release seeking public comment on current audit committee disclosure requirements, focusing on the committee’s oversight of independent auditors. The Commission is interested in receiving information about the audit committee and auditor relationship and whether improvements can be made to enhance the information provided to investors about the audit committee’s responsibilities and activities.
“Effective audit committee oversight is essential to investor protection and the functioning of our capital markets,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “The way audit committees exercise their oversight of independent auditors has evolved and it is important to evaluate whether investors have the information they need to make informed decisions.”
In addition to seeking views about audit committee disclosures, the concept release invites comment on whether Commission disclosure requirements should be refined to provide more insight into the information the audit committee used and the factors it considered in overseeing the independent auditor. This includes considerations related to the process for appointing or retaining the auditor and the qualifications of the auditor and certain members of the engagement team, among others.
The public comment period will remain open for 60 days following publication of the concept release in the Federal Register.