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SEC Warns Auditors Face Stiff Penalties for Repeat Ethics Lapses

Dec. 8, 2021, 8:30 PM

U.S. audit firms could face steeper penalties for repeated auditor independence violations, a top SEC official said Wednesday.

“You will see us really ratcheting up—where appropriate—penalties so they do have that desired deterrent effect particularly in these auditor independence cases because there is almost a static penalty amount and it is sometimes viewed as the cost of doing business,” Gurbir Grewal, director of the Division of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission, said during an American Institute of CPAs conference in Washington.

He repeated regulator concerns that firms’ business expansions threatens their independence and objectivity, and he ...