Investors and regulators will benefit from a new Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regulation requiring firms to disclose the lead engagement partner on an audit, according to a new academic study.

The new rule takes effect at the end of January. The study found a significant decline in audit quality when there were interlocking relationships involving the audit committee and audit engagement partner but not when there were other kinds of interlocks, such as those between clients who share a common audit committee member and audit firm but not a common engagement partner.

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