Statement by SEC Commissioner:
On Auditor Independence
Comissioner Roel C. Campos
U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
SEC Open Meeting
November 19, 2002
It goes without saying, auditor independence is a keystone to building a foundation of investor confidence in the public markets. Independent auditors provide the critical vouching that leads to reliance by the investing public upon financial statements - thus providing the necessary transparency and disclosure of key elements upon which investment decisions are made. No one should interpret today's proposals as being antagonistic toward the accounting profession. I hope that the accounting profession will embrace the objectives of these proposals, which will strengthen auditor independence in fact and in appearance. It is also my hope that the accounting profession will participate with the Commission in converting these proposals into the best possible permanent rules to achieve these objectives.
As do my colleagues, I commend the staff on an excellent and very thoughtful approach to implementing the extension of the Auditor Independence Rules as required by Title II of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Perhaps this is the time to digress briefly. To anyone that believes our Agency has been distracted by recent events, I invite examination of the very excellent work embodied in today's proposals and other recent proposals such as that of Section 307. Upon examination, one will see a work product from our agency that not only meets the letter of the law under the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but also applies creativity and measured practicability in advancing the spirit of the law. I for one am extremely proud of the work product our staff and this Commission continues to put forward in advancing and improving the rules by which "business" is conducted in America. Long after the specific events of recent days have been forgotten, the rules such as the ones we propose today will protect American investors and promote the economic homeland security that our country needs. Thank you for your efforts. This is a very thorough, and a very insightful effort. Good job.