The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has conducted a review of safety and security procedures for employees traveling abroad in light of recent incidents of violence around the world, such as the killing of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
“Our employees traveled to 29 foreign countries on official business last year,” PCAOB chairman James Doty wrote to SEC chair Mary Jo White in a letter last week that was posted to the PCAOB’s Web site Wednesday. “My fellow board members are also deeply concerned for the safety of these employees and supported the review.”
The PCAOB’s Division of Registration and Inspections accounts for the vast majority of the PCAOB's international travel, and requires its staff to use documented processes and protocols to identify and mitigate the security risks to staff members traveling internationally. Standard practices include detailed briefings, pre-planning for lodging and ground transportation, and communications protocols, which are all described in the division’s inspections manual. The approach to international travel security is similar to strategies employed by two securities industry regulatory organizations consulted by the PCAOB.
The PCAOB’s Office of International Affairs also has pre-travel protocols in place that were found to be well formulated and executed.
The board’s Office of Internal Oversight and Performance Assurance also made recommendations to help ensure that all PCAOB employees understand the risks associated with international travel and have a full understanding of the resources available to help mitigate those risks. PCAOB officials concurred with the recommendations and plan to implement them this year. “On top of this, we will of course continue to look for other ways to enhance safety for all PCAOB employees who travel internationally,” Doty added.
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