Need help in understanding what is now required from mutual fund audit committees? If so, a new publication from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Dechert may be of interest to you. The guide is called "Auditor Independence After Sarbanes-Oxley: A Guide to Auditor Services for Fund Audit Committees" and is intended to address key aspects of the SEC's auditor independence rules, including the role of fund audit committees regarding pre-approval of audit and non-audit services.
The Investment Management Industry Group of auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Dechert's Financial Services Group teamed up to write the guide. Dechert is an international law firm.
Chip Voneiff, leader US Investment Management Industry Group at PwC, explained that Sarbanes-Oxley and the subsequent new SEC rules redefined the responsibilities of fund audit committees and enhanced their role in fund governance. Those changes are causing fund firms to seek guidance.
"The guide combines the perspectives of public accounting and law, and we hope it accordingly may serve as a particularly useful, "hands-on" reference tool for fund directors," added Paul Schott Stevens, a partner in the Financial Services Group of Dechert.
Specific issued addressed by the guide include:
New limits on the services that a fund's audit firm can provide.
Requirements for audit committee pre-approval of audit and non-audit services (such as tax planning and consulting services) performed by an audit firm.
The nature and frequency of communications required between an audit firm and a fund audit committee.
Requirements for funds to disclose new information in their annual filings with the SEC concerning their auditor pre-approval policies, as well as fees paid to audit firms.
Model pre-approval procedures.
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