Respondents to the Monitoring Group’s Consultation Paper on international audit-related standard setting (see sbr 1/18) doubted some of the core premises of the paper and the need for its proposed changes but supported further study. The Consultation Paper elicited 179 public comments, including NASBA’s, which can be found on the website of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), a member of the Monitoring Group. The summary report was prepared by an international law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, engaged by the International Federation of Accountants.

“Commenters addressing the Consultation Paper’s discussion of the perceived problems with the current standard-setting process disagreed with the Consultation Paper’s assertion that significant changes are required to the standard-setting process by roughly a 2-to-1 margin,” the report states. It further notes that “the large majority of commenters” believe “the current standard-setting model has produced high-quality standards that have gained widespread acceptance.”

The Consultation Paper’s public interest framework was also challenged: “The most common concern articulated among these commenters was the fact that the Consultation Paper did not define its concept of the ‘public interest’ – making it difficult to assess the foundation for the Monitoring Group’s proposed changes to the current structure. Developing an agreed-upon public-interest framework, for these commenters, is the foundation for any proposals as to a revised standard-setting model.”

Despite these issues, the commenters supported further deliberation and additional studies before any concrete action is taken with regard to the Monitoring Group’s proposals: “Two of the areas with the most consensus among commenters were (1) that the Monitoring Group should provide more details and clarification on its proposed funding scheme and (2) that the continuing process should focus in particular on developing a clear public-interest framework for evaluating changes to the current standard-setting process.”

NASBA’s comments were cited several times in the summary report. Although NASBA opposed the combining of the standard-setting boards, NASBA did advise: “The establishment of joint task forces to work on areas of common interest would be beneficial to the international standard-setting process.”

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