Last week, Liz blogged about the passage of the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to prohibit listing on US exchanges of foreign companies for which the PCAOB has been unable to inspect audit work papers. On Friday, President Trump took time from his busy schedule — which he swears does not include declaring martial law — to sign the legislation.
Shortly thereafter, SEC Chair Jay Clayton issued his own statement on the legislation, which this excerpt suggests has thrown a bit of a monkey-wrench into the SEC’s own rulemaking initiatives regarding China-based companies. Here is the statement:
Prior to enactment of the Act, SEC staff were finalizing recommendations for proposed rules regarding enhanced listing standards for U.S. securities exchanges and auditor qualifications for the Commission’s consideration. Because of the substantial overlap between the staff’s proposal and the Act, I have directed the staff to consider providing a single consolidated proposal for the Commission’s consideration on issues related to the PCAOB’s access to audit work papers, exchange listing standards, and trading prohibitions.
The statement says that Chair Clayton has also asked the staff to consider additional issues relating to the Act’s implementation, including how its disclosure requirements can be implemented expeditiously and how any potential uncertainties can be addressed. He also acknowledged that this “pragmatic step” means that a rulemaking proposal won’t happen during his tenure.
-John Jenkins, TheCorporateCounsel.net December 21, 2020