Audit Inspections EuropeanIssuers final 090629

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  EUROPEANISSUERS’ POSITION ON OVERSIGHT OF STATUTORY AUDITORS BY THIRD COUNTRIES OVERSIGHT BODIES ‐ CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION  POSITION 29 JUNE 2009   I) Background  The statutory auditors of European companies listed in the United States are subject to registration and inspections by the US authorities, namely the PCAOB and the SEC. thIn the framework of the Directive 2006/43/EC on “statutory audits”, hereinafter the “8  Directive”, EU audit oversight bodies may enter into cooperation agreements with third countries  oversight  bodies  provided  those  authorities  are  considered  equivalent  by  a European Commission decision. In January 2009 the Commission published a draft Decision for discussion with Member States  listing  the  third  countries  public  oversight  bodies  that  would  be  considered equivalent to the EU counterparties. However the draft Decision was put on hold because the  PCAOB  does  not  grant  reciprocity  to  EU  oversight  bodies  nor  does  it  foresee confidentiality.  As  long  as  the  Commission’s  Decision  will  not  have  been  published,  all  stakeholders (Member States, EU oversight bodies, statutory auditors and audited companies) will be in a situation of legal uncertainty. Indeed it is not clear what the impact of the 8th Directive is on previous agreements made with the US oversight bodies. Should previous agreements be maintained? Should separate discussions with US bodies be entered into ...
Publié le : samedi 24 septembre 2011
Lecture(s) : 38
Nombre de pages : 3
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EUROPEANISSUERS’POSITIONONOVERSIGHTOFSTATUTORYAUDITORSBYTHIRDCOUNTRIESOVERSIGHTBODIESCONFIDENTIALITYOFINFORMATIONPOSITION29JUNE2009I) BackgroundThestatutoryauditorsofEuropeancompanieslistedintheUnitedStatesaresubjecttoregistrationandinspectionsbytheUSauthorities,namelythePCAOBandtheSEC.th IntheframeworkoftheDirective2006/43/ECon“statutoryaudits”,hereinafterthe“8Directive”,EUauditoversightbodiesmayenterintocooperationagreementswiththirdcountriesoversightbodiesprovidedthoseauthoritiesareconsideredequivalentbyaEuropeanCommissiondecision.InJanuary2009theCommissionpublishedadraftDecisionfordiscussionwithMemberStateslistingthethirdcountriespublicoversightbodiesthatwouldbeconsideredequivalenttotheEUcounterparties.HoweverthedraftDecisionwasputonholdbecausethePCAOBdoesnotgrantreciprocitytoEUoversightbodiesnordoesitforeseeconfidentiality.AslongastheCommission’sDecisionwillnothavebeenpublished,allstakeholders(MemberStates,EUoversightbodies,statutoryauditorsandauditedcompanies)willbeinasituationoflegaluncertainty.Indeeditisnotclearwhattheimpactofthe8thDirectiveisonpreviousagreementsmadewiththeUSoversightbodies.Shouldpreviousagreementsbemaintained?ShouldseparatediscussionswithUSbodiesbeenteredinto?WewouldregretsuchanonEUapproachforitwouldnotbringtheharmonisationwanted.Withinthatframeworkandatleastinatransitionalphase,theUSauthoritiesenvisagetocarryoutjointinspectionsintheEuropeanUnion,underconditionsthatarenotsatisfactoryforlistedcompanies,for:theconfidentialityofdocumentsrelatingtoauditedcompaniesandofinformationcommunicatedbythosecompanieswouldnotbesafeguarded;thetransferofdatabytheUSauditoversightbodiestootherUSauthorities ‐taxadministration,competitionauthorities,etcwouldnotbeexplicitlyprohibited(evenif,th accordingtoarticle47/2/cofthe8Directivetheauditoversightbodieswouldbeallowedtousethatinformationonly«fortheexerciseoftheirfunctionsofpublicoversight,qualityassuranceandinvestigations»).EuropeanIssuers’RegistrationnumberwiththeEuropeanCommission26066491429191
II) EuropeanIssuersViews1 AstheCommissionerfortheInternalMarketandServicesstatedinFebruary2009 ,itisessentialtoensurethattheUnitedStatesarereadytocooperatewiththeEuropeanUnionfully,baseduponmutualtrustandmutualassistance.Listedcompanieswouldwelcomeatransatlanticagreement.Howeverwealsobelievethatafirmpositionontheprincipleofreciprocityandonconfidentialityrulesisfundamental,inparticularregardingthetransferofdocumentsrelatingtoauditedcompaniesandofanyinformationcommunicatedbythosecompanies.Moreover,itshouldbedefinedatEuropeanlevelwhichdocumentsandinformationarewithinthescopeofarticle47/1oftheth 8Directive.Moreprecisely,EuropeanIssuerstakesthefollowingviews:Listedcompaniesmustnotbepenalisedbyanymeasuretakenbyathirdcountryoversightbodythatwouldresultincontraveninglistingrules,innotrecognizingtheopinionexpressedbytheirstatutoryauditor(s),inbeingobligedtochangestatutoryauditorsorinsignificantadditionalauditwork;Thecooperationagreementswiththirdcountriesshouldclearlystatetheobjectiveofmutualrecognitioninthenearfuture,withouttransferofauditdocumentsorofotherauditrelateddocuments;ThedialoguebetweentheEuropeanCommissionandtheUScompetentauthoritiesshouldcontinueinordertobettertakeintoaccounttheEuropeaninterests.ThedurationoftheCommission’sDecisionshouldbelimitedintime.Additionally,concerningthecompetenceofthePCAOBtheDecisionshouldcontainlimitationsliketheprohibitionthatthePCAOBisnotentitledtotransferalltypesofinformation;TheCommission’sdraftDecisionshouldbeadaptedasfollows:whileaffirmingtheobjectiveofmutualtrust,itshouldprohibitthetransfertoUSauthoritiesofdocumentsrelatedtoauditedcompanies,ofinformationcommunicatedbythosecompaniesorofinformationenablingauditedcompaniestobeidentified;Whenthirdcountries’authoritiesparticipateininspectionsofstatutoryauditorsinEuropeorwouldobservethoseinspections,suchshouldnotleadtothosethirdcountriesfindingaccesstotheaboveinformation;WeshouldlookatpossiblewaystoovercometheUSlegalprovisionsthatwouldpreventtheUSfromgivingguaranteestotheEuropeanUnionconcerningthetransferofdocumentsbytheUScompetentauthoritiestootherUSauthorities._______________________1 See“AuditWorkingpapersStatementCharlieMcCreevyCommissionerfortheInternalMarketandServices”,19February2009athttp://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/auditing/relations/index_en.htm. EuropeanIssuers’RegistrationnumberwiththeEuropeanCommission26066491429192
EuropeanIssuersisapanEuropeanorganisationsetuptopromotetheinterestsofissuingcompanies.Itsmembersarenationalassociationsandcompaniesfrom14Europeancountriescountingtogethersome9.200listedcompanieswithacombinedmarketvalueofsome4.500billion.AssuchitrepresentsthevastmajorityofpubliclyquotedcompaniesinEurope.ThemembersofEuropeanIssuerscomefromvarioussectorsincludingautomotive,nutrition,energy,healthcare,construction,financialservicesandmanymore.WhatbringsthemtogetherinEuropeanIssuersisthattheyareallownedbythepublic,makingthemsubjecttoanimpressivesetofcomplexandstringentrulesandregulations.ThroughEuropeanIssuerslistedcompaniescanengageindirectdiscussionswiththedecisionmakersatEuropean,transAtlanticandgloballevel.Typicalareasofinterestincludeshareholderrights,corporategovernance,transparency,clearingandsettlementaswellasfinancialreportingandauditing.Ourultimategoalistoachievefullyintegrated,liquidandwellfunctioningEuropeanfinancialmarkets.Moreinformationcanbefoundonwww.europeanissuers.eu.
EuropeanIssuers’RegistrationnumberwiththeEuropeanCommission2606649142919
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