Cox Says SEC Will Ease Sarbanes-Oxley Burden, Rebuffing Critics

from Bloomberg

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox said the agency’s attempt to scale back the Sarbanes-Oxley Act will shrink corporate expenses, countering criticism that the revisions won’t go far enough to reduce burdens on business.

“Investors want us to focus on the things that might affect the financial statements,” Cox, 54, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” scheduled to air this weekend. “I think we can, as a result, reduce the costs and get a better result for investors.”

The SEC in December proposed changes to Sarbanes-Oxley’s audit requirements that would let companies focus on items most likely to trigger financial restatements. The SEC’s rules are to be aligned with a proposal from the U.S. audit-oversight board to let accountants rely more on companies’ internal efforts.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson say Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations have hurt the nation’s competitiveness. Business groups want revisions to Sarbanes-Oxley to exempt small companies from its auditing rules and give the SEC authority to weaken the law.

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