Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 free pdf ebook was written by on July 26, 2002 consist of 66 page(s). The pdf file is provided by news.findlaw.com and available on pdfpedia since May 02, 2012.

h. r. 3763 one hundred seventh congress of the united states of america at..inspections of registered public accounting firms. 105. investigations and disciplinary proceedings. 106...internal controls. exemption. code of ethics for senior financial officers. disclosure of audit...

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Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 pdf




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Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 1
H. R. 3763 One Hundred Seventh Congress of the United States of America AT THE SECOND SESSION Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the twenty-third day of January, two thousand and two An Act To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS. (a) S HORT T ITLE .—This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Sarbanes- Oxley Act of 2002’’. (b) T ABLE OF C ONTENTS .—The table of contents for this Act is as follows: Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents. Sec. 2. Definitions. Sec. 3. Commission rules and enforcement. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. TITLE I—PUBLIC COMPANY ACCOUNTING OVERSIGHT BOARD 101. Establishment; administrative provisions. 102. Registration with the Board. 103. Auditing, quality control, and independence standards and rules. 104. Inspections of registered public accounting firms. 105. Investigations and disciplinary proceedings. 106. Foreign public accounting firms. 107. Commission oversight of the Board. 108. Accounting standards. 109. Funding. 201. 202. 203. 204. 205. 206. 207. 208. 209. 301. 302. 303. 304. 305. 306. 307. 308. TITLE II—AUDITOR INDEPENDENCE Services outside the scope of practice of auditors. Preapproval requirements. Audit partner rotation. Auditor reports to audit committees. Conforming amendments. Conflicts of interest. Study of mandatory rotation of registered public accounting firms. Commission authority. Considerations by appropriate State regulatory authorities. TITLE III—CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY Public company audit committees. Corporate responsibility for financial reports. Improper influence on conduct of audits. Forfeiture of certain bonuses and profits. Officer and director bars and penalties. Insider trades during pension fund blackout periods. Rules of professional responsibility for attorneys. Fair funds for investors. TITLE IV—ENHANCED FINANCIAL DISCLOSURES Sec. 401. Disclosures in periodic reports. Sec. 402. Enhanced conflict of interest provisions. Sec. 403. Disclosures of transactions involving management and principal stock- holders.
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Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 2
H. R. 3763—2 Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. 404. 405. 406. 407. 408. 409. Management assessment of internal controls. Exemption. Code of ethics for senior financial officers. Disclosure of audit committee financial expert. Enhanced review of periodic disclosures by issuers. Real time issuer disclosures. TITLE V—ANALYST CONFLICTS OF INTEREST Sec. 501. Treatment of securities analysts by registered securities associations and national securities exchanges. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. 601. 602. 603. 604. 701. 702. 703. 704. 705. TITLE VI—COMMISSION RESOURCES AND AUTHORITY Authorization of appropriations. Appearance and practice before the Commission. Federal court authority to impose penny stock bars. Qualifications of associated persons of brokers and dealers. TITLE VII—STUDIES AND REPORTS GAO study and report regarding consolidation of public accounting firms. Commission study and report regarding credit rating agencies. Study and report on violators and violations Study of enforcement actions. Study of investment banks. TITLE VIII—CORPORATE AND CRIMINAL FRAUD ACCOUNTABILITY 801. Short title. 802. Criminal penalties for altering documents. 803. Debts nondischargeable if incurred in violation of securities fraud laws. 804. Statute of limitations for securities fraud. 805. Review of Federal Sentencing Guidelines for obstruction of justice and ex- tensive criminal fraud. 806. Protection for employees of publicly traded companies who provide evi- dence of fraud. 807. Criminal penalties for defrauding shareholders of publicly traded compa- nies. TITLE IX—WHITE-COLLAR CRIME PENALTY ENHANCEMENTS 901. Short title. 902. Attempts and conspiracies to commit criminal fraud offenses. 903. Criminal penalties for mail and wire fraud. 904. Criminal penalties for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Se- curity Act of 1974. 905. Amendment to sentencing guidelines relating to certain white-collar of- fenses. 906. Corporate responsibility for financial reports. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. Sec. TITLE X—CORPORATE TAX RETURNS Sec. 1001. Sense of the Senate regarding the signing of corporate tax returns by chief executive officers. Sec. 1101. Sec. 1102. Sec. 1103. Sec. 1104. Sec. 1105. Sec. 1106. Sec. 1107. TITLE XI—CORPORATE FRAUD AND ACCOUNTABILITY Short title. Tampering with a record or otherwise impeding an official proceeding. Temporary freeze authority for the Securities and Exchange Commis- sion. Amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Authority of the Commission to prohibit persons from serving as officers or directors. Increased criminal penalties under Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Retaliation against informants. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. (a) I N G ENERAL .—In this Act, the following definitions shall apply: (1) A PPROPRIATE STATE REGULATORY AUTHORITY .—The term ‘‘appropriate State regulatory authority’’ means the State agency or other authority responsible for the licensure or other regulation of the practice of accounting in the State or States
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 3
H. R. 3763—3 having jurisdiction over a registered public accounting firm or associated person thereof, with respect to the matter in question. (2) A UDIT .—The term ‘‘audit’’ means an examination of the financial statements of any issuer by an independent public accounting firm in accordance with the rules of the Board or the Commission (or, for the period preceding the adoption of applicable rules of the Board under section 103, in accordance with then-applicable generally accepted auditing and related standards for such purposes), for the purpose of expressing an opinion on such statements. (3) A UDIT COMMITTEE .—The term ‘‘audit committee’’ means— (A) a committee (or equivalent body) established by and amongst the board of directors of an issuer for the purpose of overseeing the accounting and financial reporting processes of the issuer and audits of the financial statements of the issuer; and (B) if no such committee exists with respect to an issuer, the entire board of directors of the issuer. (4) A UDIT REPORT .—The term ‘‘audit report’’ means a docu- ment or other record— (A) prepared following an audit performed for purposes of compliance by an issuer with the requirements of the securities laws; and (B) in which a public accounting firm either— (i) sets forth the opinion of that firm regarding a financial statement, report, or other document; or (ii) asserts that no such opinion can be expressed. (5) B OARD .—The term ‘‘Board’’ means the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board established under section 101. (6) C OMMISSION .—The term ‘‘Commission’’ means the Secu- rities and Exchange Commission. (7) I SSUER .—The term ‘‘issuer’’ means an issuer (as defined in section 3 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c)), the securities of which are registered under section 12 of that Act (15 U.S.C. 78l), or that is required to file reports under section 15(d) (15 U.S.C. 78o(d)), or that files or has filed a registration statement that has not yet become effective under the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.), and that it has not withdrawn. (8) N ON - AUDIT SERVICES .—The term ‘‘non-audit services’’ means any professional services provided to an issuer by a registered public accounting firm, other than those provided to an issuer in connection with an audit or a review of the financial statements of an issuer. (9) P ERSON ASSOCIATED WITH A PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM .— (A) I N GENERAL .—The terms ‘‘person associated with a public accounting firm’’ (or with a ‘‘registered public accounting firm’’) and ‘‘associated person of a public accounting firm’’ (or of a ‘‘registered public accounting firm’’) mean any individual proprietor, partner, share- holder, principal, accountant, or other professional employee of a public accounting firm, or any other inde- pendent contractor or entity that, in connection with the preparation or issuance of any audit report—
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 4
H. R. 3763—4 (i) shares in the profits of, or receives compensation in any other form from, that firm; or (ii) participates as agent or otherwise on behalf of such accounting firm in any activity of that firm. (B) E XEMPTION AUTHORITY .—The Board may, by rule, exempt persons engaged only in ministerial tasks from the definition in subparagraph (A), to the extent that the Board determines that any such exemption is consistent with the purposes of this Act, the public interest, or the protection of investors. (10) P ROFESSIONAL STANDARDS .—The term ‘‘professional standards’’ means— (A) accounting principles that are— (i) established by the standard setting body described in section 19(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended by this Act, or prescribed by the Commis- sion under section 19(a) of that Act (15 U.S.C. 17a(s)) or section 13(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a(m)); and (ii) relevant to audit reports for particular issuers, or dealt with in the quality control system of a par- ticular registered public accounting firm; and (B) auditing standards, standards for attestation engagements, quality control policies and procedures, eth- ical and competency standards, and independence stand- ards (including rules implementing title II) that the Board or the Commission determines— (i) relate to the preparation or issuance of audit reports for issuers; and (ii) are established or adopted by the Board under section 103(a), or are promulgated as rules of the Commission. (11) P UBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM .—The term ‘‘public accounting firm’’ means— (A) a proprietorship, partnership, incorporated associa- tion, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or other legal entity that is engaged in the practice of public accounting or preparing or issuing audit reports; and (B) to the extent so designated by the rules of the Board, any associated person of any entity described in subparagraph (A). (12) R EGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM .—The term ‘‘reg- istered public accounting firm’’ means a public accounting firm registered with the Board in accordance with this Act. (13) R ULES OF THE BOARD .—The term ‘‘rules of the Board’’ means the bylaws and rules of the Board (as submitted to, and approved, modified, or amended by the Commission, in accordance with section 107), and those stated policies, prac- tices, and interpretations of the Board that the Commission, by rule, may deem to be rules of the Board, as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. (14) S ECURITY .—The term ‘‘security’’ has the same meaning as in section 3(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a)).
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 5
H. R. 3763—5 (15) S ECURITIES LAWS .—The term ‘‘securities laws’’ means the provisions of law referred to in section 3(a)(47) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a)(47)), as amended by this Act, and includes the rules, regulations, and orders issued by the Commission thereunder. (16) S TATE .—The term ‘‘State’’ means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or any other territory or possession of the United States. (b) C ONFORMING A MENDMENT .—Section 3(a)(47) of the Securi- ties Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78c(a)(47)) is amended by inserting ‘‘the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002,’’ before ‘‘the Public’’. SEC. 3. COMMISSION RULES AND ENFORCEMENT. (a) R EGULATORY A CTION .—The Commission shall promulgate such rules and regulations, as may be necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors, and in furtherance of this Act. (b) E NFORCEMENT .— (1) I N GENERAL .—A violation by any person of this Act, any rule or regulation of the Commission issued under this Act, or any rule of the Board shall be treated for all purposes in the same manner as a violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.) or the rules and regulations issued thereunder, consistent with the provisions of this Act, and any such person shall be subject to the same penalties, and to the same extent, as for a violation of that Act or such rules or regulations. (2) I NVESTIGATIONS , INJUNCTIONS , AND PROSECUTION OF OFFENSES .—Section 21 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78u) is amended— (A) in subsection (a)(1), by inserting ‘‘the rules of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, of which such person is a registered public accounting firm or a person associated with such a firm,’’ after ‘‘is a participant,’’; (B) in subsection (d)(1), by inserting ‘‘the rules of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, of which such person is a registered public accounting firm or a person associated with such a firm,’’ after ‘‘is a participant,’’; (C) in subsection (e), by inserting ‘‘the rules of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, of which such person is a registered public accounting firm or a person associated with such a firm,’’ after ‘‘is a participant,’’; and (D) in subsection (f), by inserting ‘‘or the Public Com- pany Accounting Oversight Board’’ after ‘‘self-regulatory organization’’ each place that term appears. (3) C EASE - AND - DESIST PROCEEDINGS .—Section 21C(c)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78u–3(c)(2)) is amended by inserting ‘‘registered public accounting firm (as defined in section 2 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002),’’ after ‘‘government securities dealer,’’. (4) E NFORCEMENT BY FEDERAL BANKING AGENCIES .—Section 12(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l(i)) is amended by— (A) striking ‘‘sections 12,’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘sections 10A(m), 12,’’; and
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 6
H. R. 3763—6 (B) striking ‘‘and 16,’’ each place it appears and inserting ‘‘and 16 of this Act, and sections 302, 303, 304, 306, 401(b), 404, 406, and 407 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002,’’. (c) E FFECT ON C OMMISSION A UTHORITY .—Nothing in this Act or the rules of the Board shall be construed to impair or limit— (1) the authority of the Commission to regulate the accounting profession, accounting firms, or persons associated with such firms for purposes of enforcement of the securities laws; (2) the authority of the Commission to set standards for accounting or auditing practices or auditor independence, derived from other provisions of the securities laws or the rules or regulations thereunder, for purposes of the preparation and issuance of any audit report, or otherwise under applicable law; or (3) the ability of the Commission to take, on the initiative of the Commission, legal, administrative, or disciplinary action against any registered public accounting firm or any associated person thereof. TITLE I—PUBLIC COMPANY ACCOUNTING OVERSIGHT BOARD SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT; ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS. (a) E STABLISHMENT OF B OARD .—There is established the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, to oversee the audit of public companies that are subject to the securities laws, and related mat- ters, in order to protect the interests of investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports for companies the securities of which are sold to, and held by and for, public investors. The Board shall be a body corporate, operate as a nonprofit corporation, and have succession until dissolved by an Act of Congress. (b) S TATUS .—The Board shall not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government, and, except as otherwise provided in this Act, shall be subject to, and have all the powers conferred upon a nonprofit corporation by, the District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act. No member or person employed by, or agent for, the Board shall be deemed to be an officer or employee of or agent for the Federal Government by reason of such service. (c) D UTIES OF THE B OARD .—The Board shall, subject to action by the Commission under section 107, and once a determination is made by the Commission under subsection (d) of this section— (1) register public accounting firms that prepare audit reports for issuers, in accordance with section 102; (2) establish or adopt, or both, by rule, auditing, quality control, ethics, independence, and other standards relating to the preparation of audit reports for issuers, in accordance with section 103; (3) conduct inspections of registered public accounting firms, in accordance with section 104 and the rules of the Board; (4) conduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings con- cerning, and impose appropriate sanctions where justified upon,
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 7
H. R. 3763—7 registered public accounting firms and associated persons of such firms, in accordance with section 105; (5) perform such other duties or functions as the Board (or the Commission, by rule or order) determines are necessary or appropriate to promote high professional standards among, and improve the quality of audit services offered by, registered public accounting firms and associated persons thereof, or other- wise to carry out this Act, in order to protect investors, or to further the public interest; (6) enforce compliance with this Act, the rules of the Board, professional standards, and the securities laws relating to the preparation and issuance of audit reports and the obligations and liabilities of accountants with respect thereto, by registered public accounting firms and associated persons thereof; and (7) set the budget and manage the operations of the Board and the staff of the Board. (d) C OMMISSION D ETERMINATION .—The members of the Board shall take such action (including hiring of staff, proposal of rules, and adoption of initial and transitional auditing and other profes- sional standards) as may be necessary or appropriate to enable the Commission to determine, not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act, that the Board is so organized and has the capacity to carry out the requirements of this title, and to enforce compliance with this title by registered public accounting firms and associated persons thereof. The Commission shall be responsible, prior to the appointment of the Board, for the planning for the establishment and administrative transition to the Board’s operation. (e) B OARD M EMBERSHIP .— (1) C OMPOSITION .—The Board shall have 5 members, appointed from among prominent individuals of integrity and reputation who have a demonstrated commitment to the interests of investors and the public, and an understanding of the responsibilities for and nature of the financial disclosures required of issuers under the securities laws and the obligations of accountants with respect to the preparation and issuance of audit reports with respect to such disclosures. (2) L IMITATION .—Two members, and only 2 members, of the Board shall be or have been certified public accountants pursuant to the laws of 1 or more States, provided that, if 1 of those 2 members is the chairperson, he or she may not have been a practicing certified public accountant for at least 5 years prior to his or her appointment to the Board. (3) F ULL - TIME INDEPENDENT SERVICE .—Each member of the Board shall serve on a full-time basis, and may not, concurrent with service on the Board, be employed by any other person or engage in any other professional or business activity. No member of the Board may share in any of the profits of, or receive payments from, a public accounting firm (or any other person, as determined by rule of the Commission), other than fixed continuing payments, subject to such conditions as the Commission may impose, under standard arrangements for the retirement of members of public accounting firms. (4) A PPOINTMENT OF BOARD MEMBERS .— (A) I NITIAL BOARD .—Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commission, after con- sultation with the Chairman of the Board of Governors
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 8
H. R. 3763—8 of the Federal Reserve System and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall appoint the chairperson and other initial members of the Board, and shall designate a term of service for each. (B) V ACANCIES .—A vacancy on the Board shall not affect the powers of the Board, but shall be filled in the same manner as provided for appointments under this section. (5) T ERM OF SERVICE .— (A) I N GENERAL .—The term of service of each Board member shall be 5 years, and until a successor is appointed, except that— (i) the terms of office of the initial Board members (other than the chairperson) shall expire in annual increments, 1 on each of the first 4 anniversaries of the initial date of appointment; and (ii) any Board member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term. (B) T ERM LIMITATION .—No person may serve as a member of the Board, or as chairperson of the Board, for more than 2 terms, whether or not such terms of service are consecutive. (6) R EMOVAL FROM OFFICE .—A member of the Board may be removed by the Commission from office, in accordance with section 107(d)(3), for good cause shown before the expiration of the term of that member. (f) P OWERS OF THE B OARD .—In addition to any authority granted to the Board otherwise in this Act, the Board shall have the power, subject to section 107— (1) to sue and be sued, complain and defend, in its corporate name and through its own counsel, with the approval of the Commission, in any Federal, State, or other court; (2) to conduct its operations and maintain offices, and to exercise all other rights and powers authorized by this Act, in any State, without regard to any qualification, licensing, or other provision of law in effect in such State (or a political subdivision thereof); (3) to lease, purchase, accept gifts or donations of or other- wise acquire, improve, use, sell, exchange, or convey, all of or an interest in any property, wherever situated; (4) to appoint such employees, accountants, attorneys, and other agents as may be necessary or appropriate, and to deter- mine their qualifications, define their duties, and fix their salaries or other compensation (at a level that is comparable to private sector self-regulatory, accounting, technical, super- visory, or other staff or management positions); (5) to allocate, assess, and collect accounting support fees established pursuant to section 109, for the Board, and other fees and charges imposed under this title; and (6) to enter into contracts, execute instruments, incur liabil- ities, and do any and all other acts and things necessary, appropriate, or incidental to the conduct of its operations and the exercise of its obligations, rights, and powers imposed or granted by this title.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 9
H. R. 3763—9 (g) R ULES OF THE B OARD .—The rules of the Board shall, subject to the approval of the Commission— (1) provide for the operation and administration of the Board, the exercise of its authority, and the performance of its responsibilities under this Act; (2) permit, as the Board determines necessary or appro- priate, delegation by the Board of any of its functions to an individual member or employee of the Board, or to a division of the Board, including functions with respect to hearing, deter- mining, ordering, certifying, reporting, or otherwise acting as to any matter, except that— (A) the Board shall retain a discretionary right to review any action pursuant to any such delegated function, upon its own motion; (B) a person shall be entitled to a review by the Board with respect to any matter so delegated, and the decision of the Board upon such review shall be deemed to be the action of the Board for all purposes (including appeal or review thereof); and (C) if the right to exercise a review described in subparagraph (A) is declined, or if no such review is sought within the time stated in the rules of the Board, then the action taken by the holder of such delegation shall for all purposes, including appeal or review thereof, be deemed to be the action of the Board; (3) establish ethics rules and standards of conduct for Board members and staff, including a bar on practice before the Board (and the Commission, with respect to Board-related mat- ters) of 1 year for former members of the Board, and appropriate periods (not to exceed 1 year) for former staff of the Board; and (4) provide as otherwise required by this Act. (h) A NNUAL R EPORT TO THE C OMMISSION .—The Board shall submit an annual report (including its audited financial statements) to the Commission, and the Commission shall transmit a copy of that report to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate, and the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives, not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of that report by the Commission. SEC. 102. REGISTRATION WITH THE BOARD. (a) M ANDATORY R EGISTRATION .—Beginning 180 days after the date of the determination of the Commission under section 101(d), it shall be unlawful for any person that is not a registered public accounting firm to prepare or issue, or to participate in the prepara- tion or issuance of, any audit report with respect to any issuer. (b) A PPLICATIONS FOR R EGISTRATION .— (1) F ORM OF APPLICATION .—A public accounting firm shall use such form as the Board may prescribe, by rule, to apply for registration under this section. (2) C ONTENTS OF APPLICATIONS .—Each public accounting firm shall submit, as part of its application for registration, in such detail as the Board shall specify— (A) the names of all issuers for which the firm prepared or issued audit reports during the immediately preceding calendar year, and for which the firm expects to prepare or issue audit reports during the current calendar year;
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 - page 10
H. R. 3763—10 (B) the annual fees received by the firm from each such issuer for audit services, other accounting services, and non-audit services, respectively; (C) such other current financial information for the most recently completed fiscal year of the firm as the Board may reasonably request; (D) a statement of the quality control policies of the firm for its accounting and auditing practices; (E) a list of all accountants associated with the firm who participate in or contribute to the preparation of audit reports, stating the license or certification number of each such person, as well as the State license numbers of the firm itself; (F) information relating to criminal, civil, or adminis- trative actions or disciplinary proceedings pending against the firm or any associated person of the firm in connection with any audit report; (G) copies of any periodic or annual disclosure filed by an issuer with the Commission during the immediately preceding calendar year which discloses accounting dis- agreements between such issuer and the firm in connection with an audit report furnished or prepared by the firm for such issuer; and (H) such other information as the rules of the Board or the Commission shall specify as necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors. (3) C ONSENTS .—Each application for registration under this subsection shall include— (A) a consent executed by the public accounting firm to cooperation in and compliance with any request for testimony or the production of documents made by the Board in the furtherance of its authority and responsibil- ities under this title (and an agreement to secure and enforce similar consents from each of the associated persons of the public accounting firm as a condition of their contin- ued employment by or other association with such firm); and (B) a statement that such firm understands and agrees that cooperation and compliance, as described in the con- sent required by subparagraph (A), and the securing and enforcement of such consents from its associated persons, in accordance with the rules of the Board, shall be a condition to the continuing effectiveness of the registration of the firm with the Board. (c) A CTION ON A PPLICATIONS .— (1) T IMING .—The Board shall approve a completed applica- tion for registration not later than 45 days after the date of receipt of the application, in accordance with the rules of the Board, unless the Board, prior to such date, issues a written notice of disapproval to, or requests more information from, the prospective registrant. (2) T REATMENT .—A written notice of disapproval of a com- pleted application under paragraph (1) for registration shall be treated as a disciplinary sanction for purposes of sections 105(d) and 107(c). (d) P ERIODIC R EPORTS .—Each registered public accounting firm shall submit an annual report to the Board, and may be required
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