June 18, 2019
The Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to the auditor independence rules relating to the analysis that must be conducted to determine whether an auditor is independent when the auditor has a lending relationship with certain shareholders of an audit client.
The Commission has become aware of circumstances where the existing rules capture relationships that otherwise do not bear on the impartiality or objectivity of the auditor. The amendments are intended to focus the rules on those lending relationships that reasonably may bear on external auditors’ impartiality or objectivity and, in so doing, improve the application of the Loan Provision for the benefit of investors while reducing compliance burdens.
“This rulemaking reflects the staff’s extensive experience and judgment, and I thank them for their continued commitment to retrospective review,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “The amendments we are adopting today will more effectively identify debtor-creditor relationships that could impair an auditor’s objectivity and impartiality, as opposed to certain more attenuated relationships that are unlikely to pose such threats.”
These amendments will become effective 90 days after they are published in the Federal Register.