Court holds that a whistleblower need only have a reasonable belief that the defendant’s conduct was unlawful

The United States District Court, S.D. New York, on a FRCP 56 motion for summary judgment, recently held in Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC that a whistleblower under section 806 need only show reasonable belief that the defendant’s conduct violated federal law. In relevant part see the summary snapshot below. This is important for potential defendants and their decision makers to know when evaluating potential whistleblower situations and how to proceed.

David Tate, Esq. (and CPA, California inactive), Royse Law Firm (Menlo Park office, California, San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin)

PCAOB Adopts New Audit Report-Should Be Interesting-Still Has To Be Adopted By The SEC

The following is a link to the PCAOB website page discussing the PCAOB’s June 2017 adoption of a new audit report which in part requires the disclosure of critical audit matters (CAM) for certain audits conducted under PCAOB standards. Here’s the link to the PCAOB page CLICK HERE

The new report standard still must be adopted by the SEC. If adopted, some of the new report standards will first apply to annual audits for years ending on or after December 15, 2017; however, the critical audit matter reporting would not apply until 2019 at the earliest for certain entities.

As the PCAOB notes, there is a need to make the audit report more relevant. In fact, there is a need to make both external and internal audit and auditors more relevant.

More will follow on this; however, I usually don’t spend signification time on new laws, statutes, regulations, rules and standards until (1) they are in fact enacted or adopted, and (2) it is near the time of actual use or requirement.

I do note, however, that this new report and the CAM provision is an interesting development, which perhaps should have occurred years ago. If you click on the above link, and then on the actual standard itself, you will also see that the standard contains worthwhile discussions about critical audit matters, materiality and other topics that are relevant to the standard.

Best, David Tate, Esq. (and CPA, California inactive). Royse Law Firm, Menlo Park Office, California.

Royse Law Firm – Practice Area Overview – San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin

  • Corporate and Securities, Financing and Formation
  • Corporate Governance, D&O, Boards and Committees, Audit Committees, Etc.
  • Intellectual Property – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Secrets
  • International
  • Immigration
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Labor and Employment
  • Litigation (I broke out the litigation because this is my primary area of practice)
  •             Business
  •             Intellectual Property – Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, Trade Secrets
  •             Trade Secrets, NDA, Financial & Accounting Issues, Fraud, Lost Income, Royalties, Etc.
  •             Privacy, Internet, Hacking, Speech, Etc.
  •             Labor and Employment
  •             Mergers & Acquisitions
  •             Real Estate
  •             Owner, Founder, Investor, Board & Committee, Shareholder, D&O, Lender/Debtor, Etc.
  •             Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith
  •             Investigations
  •             Trust, Estate, Conservatorship, Elder Abuse, Etc., and Contentious Administrations
  • Real Estate
  • Tax (US and International) and Tax Litigation
  • Technology Companies and Transactions Including AgTech, HealthTech, etc.
  • Wealth and Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration, and Disputes and Litigation

 

PCAOB Proposes Significant Changes to the Audit Report – From PWC

The PCAOB has again proposed changes to the standard audit report in which the PCAOB proposes that the report disclose additional information, for example about communications to the audit committee and about judgment or estimate related issues. Here is the link to a discussion by PWC, CLICK HERE. Comments about the proposal are due by August 2016.

This is a modified version of a prior PCAOB proposal. I’m not particularly convinced that the proposal requires a detailed discussion by me at this time as, similar to legislation, the proposal will change over time and whether or not it will ever be enacted is uncertain. However, given that this is a second serious attempt to enact a change in the audit report for audits performed and that are subject to PCAOB oversight, I must believe that this attempt will have an increased chance of being enacted.

I continue to believe that the current audit report suffers from significant limitations that reduce or limit its usefulness and relevancy for investors. I question the number of audits that would be performed if not for the statutory requirement? And we are seeing other efforts to increase discussions and disclosures that are thought to be useful to investors, such as the activities of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and other activities by the PCAOB.

In general, these activities also should benefit the external and internal audit professions as they will make their activities even more relevant, and also likely increase their workload.

One other thought: where are audit committees on this? I believe that in general they should support these efforts: on the one hand these activities might increase audit committee complexity and workload, but on the other hand, as the audit committee is significantly dependent on information that is provided by other people (because the audit committee is not involved in the day-to-day activities of the business, and its role is diligent and informed “oversight”), this information and these disclosures tend to provide the audit committee with additional information that might help in the audit committee member’s oversight effectiveness.

Best, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco/California), and here is a link to my audit committee guide, CLICK HERE

PCAOB proposes changes to audit report