May 20, 2010

Dodd Bill: Cloture Motion Fails and the Fight Over 300 Amendments Continues

Yesterday, the motion for cloture in the US Senate failed 57-42 regarding the Dodd bill, as noted in this blow-by-blow account in the WSJ. This motion would have limited further debate over the 300-plus proposed amendments to just 30 hours before forcing a vote on the bill (Yes, I said over 300 amendments! That’s an average of more than three per Senator for those playing at home).

This means that the Dodd bill might not be passed this week as expected (see this Washington Post blog) – and so far there has been no Manager’s Amendment, as well as no real way of knowing whether the amendment to kill proxy access and majority voting will be voted upon before the Senate’s tussling ends. Thanks to the folks at Davis Polk and others for helping me sort through the chaos on the Senate floor…

Audit Inspections: Some Countries Refuse to Play Ball with US Regulators

Earlier this week, the PCAOB published this alert that contains a list of foreign issuers where the PCAOB has been denied access to the information necessary to conduct inspections of the audits of those companies (as noted in this Accountancy Age article, this lack of information sharing may hinder a Lehman investigation). In these jurisdictions, the related governments have failed to cooperate with the SEC and PCAOB in coming up with a meaningful inspection process for these audits.

At a recent Investor Advisory Group meeting, investors encouraged the PCAOB to make this list publicly available so investors could determine which audits are not subject to the type of auditing framework that exists for US issuers. Due to this tug of war, there is greater uncertainty over the quality of the independent audits for these companies, including the integrity of their financial statements and their compliance with IFRS.

Posted: The SEC’s Semiannual Regulatory Agenda

Recently, the SEC posted its seminannual regulatory agenda, in which it reports its progress on rulemaking to Congress. From this list, you can see that the SEC has been busy – and will continue to be so. But there are no real surprises to be gleaned from the agenda…

– Broc Romanek