The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved a rule aimed at preventing conflicts of interest at accounting firms that consult for companies they audit. It also adopted measures to help investors get the best possible trading prices on securities.
The new auditor-independence standard will require corporate audit committees to more closely review auditing and consulting contracts, with fuller disclosure of these payments.
The measure, which takes effect in two months, also will prohibit accounting firms from both managing a company's computers and auditing its financial statements. This provision was a softening of the SEC's original proposal, which would have barred accounting firms from doing any computer consulting for audit clients.
Other market-regulation rules adopted Wednesday will require brokerages to release composite data on where they send customer stock orders and how well these orders are filled. Another measure seeks to ensure that, once U.S. options markets are electronically linked, investors who order exchange-listed options get the best available price.