Sec Approves Budget Of Independent Accounting Board

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The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday approved the budget for the auditing watchdog that oversees the work of leading U.S. accounting firms.

The SEC staff recommended approving the budget of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and SEC Commission Chair Mary Jo White and Commissioner Kara Stein endorsed the $257.7 million budget.

Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar voted against, saying he was skeptical of the nearly 3 percent increase in the PCAOB budget from a year ago. He also said he was not persuaded that the additional burden on accounting firms and broker-dealers, which fund the PCAOB through fees, was merited.

“The Commission represents the only safeguard to an otherwise unilateral ability to impose the accounting support fee on companies and broker-dealers,” said.

The SEC controls the budget and assigns members of the PCAOB, which was conceived to prevent future accounting scandals like the one that brought down energy company Enron in 2001.

The SEC has two vacant seats and the Senate Banking Committee is due on Tuesday to consider two nominees put forward by the White House.

Commission Chair Mary Jo White has said she intends to wait until the agency once again has its full, five-member panel before moving forward to appoint a new PCAOB chief.

Current PCAOB Chairman James Doty’s term expired last fall.