House Passes Financial Regulatory Reform Bill


House lawmakers voted Friday to approve The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a series of financial regulatory measures.

 

The AICPA advocated for the profession on several provisions in the bill.

 

The bill gives the PCAOB authority to inspect and regulate audits of all broker-dealers. It gives the PCAOB authority to exempt auditors of small, introducing broker-dealers from the registration and inspection requirements. 

 

It exempts non-accelerated filers with market values below $75 million from Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404(b) internal control requirements. Lawmakers called for a study by the SEC and General Accountability Office of the how the burdens of section 404(b) can be lessened without harming investor protections for companies with a market capitalization between $75 million and $250 million.

 

The bill would create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Under a provision won by the AICPA, the House recognized CPAs who provide financial planning, tax planning and tax return preparation, as well as financial literacy education to consumers should not be subject to new and duplicative CFPA regulation. 

 

The bill calls for a GAO study of whether Congress should create a regulatory oversight panel for financial planners. A proposal by others to create such an agency was dropped.

 

There are substantial differences between the House bill, which passed by a vote of 223 to 202, and legislation pending in the Senate.  The Senate Banking Committee will take up its version of the legislation in 2010, perhaps as soon as mid-January.

 

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