The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said the financial statements of non-public broker-dealers now need to be certified by PCAOB-registered auditing firms.

The registration applies to financial statements for fiscal years ending after Dec. 31, 2008. Registration of auditors of the private broker-dealers had not been required in the past as the result of an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the SEC order has now expired, and the commission is not likely to extension the exemption given recent criticism of its lax regulation of the markets.

To apply for registration with the PCAOB, a firm must complete an electronic application form at www.pcaobus.org/registration and pay an application fee. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and PCAOB rules, the board must, within 45 days after receiving an application and application fee, either approve the application, request additional information from the applicant, or provide a notice of hearing to determine whether to approve the application.  

Pending the SEC's approval of rules the PCAOB adopted last year, all firms registered as of March 31, 2009 also will be required to file an annual report and pay an annual fee for 2009. Under those pending rules, firms that become registered after March 31, 2009 would not be required to file an annual report or pay an annual fee before 2010.

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