Earlier this month the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules regarding the registration of municipal advisors under the Dodd-Frank Act that included an exemption for accountants who provide a range of audit and attest services.
Dodd-Frank established the registration requirement to regulate those who provide advice relating to the issuance of municipal securities, to make sure they comply with certain training, qualification and conduct standards.
Under the original, temporary regs, the SEC was going to exempt only accountants who were preparing or auditing financial statements, but after receiving a number of comment letters, it expanded the audit and attest services that can be provided without requiring registration.
“The establishment of a permanent registration regime for municipal advisors will further the goal of accountability and transparency in the financial system,” noted American Institute of CPAs president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement commending the final rules. “While the SEC’s definition of ‘municipal advisor’ in the proposed rule would not have required accountants performing audits of financial statements to register, it would have encompassed accountants who perform other audit and attestation services. Accountants providing audit and attestation services are already subject to layers of regulation that are intended to protect investors. We are pleased that the SEC expanded the accountant exemption to include audit and attestation engagements, preparation of financial statements and the issuance of letters for underwriters.”
The full rules are available here.