PCAOB STARTS REGISTERING BROKER/DEALER AUDITORSThe Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has issued guidance on the recent requirement for registration of auditors of privately held broker/dealers.

Until recently, by order of the Securities and Exchange Commission, registration of auditors of nonpublic broker/dealers was not necessary. However, as a result of the recent expiration of the SEC order, financial statements of nonpublic broker/dealers for fiscal years ending after Dec. 31, 2008, must now be certified by a PCAOB-registered public accounting firm.

The guidance, PCAOB Staff Questions & Answers on the Registration of Auditors of Broker/Dealers, provides information on the registration process, including timing and fees; the extent to which applications are public and the process for seeking confidential treatment; and the obligations associated with being registered, including periodic reporting and annual fee requirements.

The document supplements guidance on the same topic issued recently by the SEC staff and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

GENWORTH LAUNCHES NEW INVESTMENT PROGRAM

Genworth Financial Investment Services has unveiled Managed Wealth Advantage, a fee-based money-management program comprised of a series of mutual fund portfolios. The new offering allows financial advisors to blend more than 150 mutual funds from 60 fund families into a single account.

Genworth will provide advisors with additional services and tools, such as ongoing portfolio monitoring, due diligence, automatic rebalancing and a quarterly performance report. Charles Schwab & Co. acts as custodian for the program.

NEW CREDENTIAL PROGRAM

The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries has begun offering a new credential and certificate program for those who specialize in the tax-exempt and governmental retirement plan market. The Tax-Exempt and Governmental Plan Consultant credential focuses on the technical knowledge and consulting skills required to work on retirement plans for tax-exempt organizations. These issues include eligibility, vesting, contribution types and limits, nondiscrimination rules, allowable investments, contract exchanges, transfers, and plan documents.

For additional information, contact Chris Robichaux at crobichaux@asppa.org or (703) 516-9300, ext. 130.

IRS OFFERS INFO ON COBRA SUBSIDIES

Washington, D.C. - The Internal Revenue Service has issued information to help employers claim credit for the COBRA medical premiums that they pay for former employees under provisions of the recently passed stimulus bill.

Under the act, certain individuals who are eligible for COBRA or similar continuation health coverage may receive a subsidy for 65 percent of the premium. They are required to pay only 35 percent of the premium. The employer may recover the subsidy by taking it as a credit on its quarterly employment tax return.

The IRS has unveiled new information on its IRS.gov site, including an extensive set of questions and answers for employers, and a revised version of the quarterly payroll tax return that employers will use to claim credit.

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