Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox has established an advisory committee to help make financial reporting more "user-friendly." The SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting will examine the U.S. financial reporting system in an effort to reduce complexity, make financial reports clearer to investors reduce costs for preparers and determine how to better capitalize on the use of technology. "Our current system of financial reporting has become unnecessarily complex for investors, companies, and the markets generally," Cox said. "The time is ripe to review how that system can be made less complex and more useful to investors." Robert C. Pozen, chairman of MFS Investment Management in Boston and former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments, was appointed the committee chair. Cox said he expects between 13 and 17 additional members with varied backgrounds to be named to the advisory committee within the next few weeks.Some of the areas the committee will focus on include: * The current approach to setting financial accounting and reporting standards; * The current process of regulating compliance by registrants and financial professionals with accounting and reporting standards; and * The current systems for delivering financial information to investors and accessing that information. Both the Financial Accounting Standards Board and Financial Executives International lauded the development. "This advisory committee represents an important step toward addressing the institutional, structural, cultural, and behavioral issues that create complexity, reduce transparency, and impede usefulness of reported information to investors," said FASB chairman Robert Herz. Meanwhile the 15,000-member FEI said that it "applauds the SEC's announcement today regarding the formation of an SEC Advisory Committee on Improvements to Financial Reporting. We reiterate our belief that the current complexity in accounting and reporting harms the ability of users of financial statements to understand the information provided and impairs the ability of preparers to explain their financial results in a meaningful way."
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