(a) Establishment of Board
There is established the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, to oversee the audit of companies that are subject to the securities laws, and related matters, in order to protect the interests of investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The Board shall be a body corporate, operate as a nonprofit corporation, and have succession until dissolved by an Act of Congress.
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) Duties of the Board
The Board shall, subject to action by the Commission under section 7217 of this title, 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, brokers, and dealers, in accordance with section 7212 of this title;
(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, brokers, and dealers, in accordance with section 7213 of this title;
(3) conduct inspections of registered public accounting firms, in accordance with section 7214 of this title and the rules of the Board;
(4) conduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings concerning, and impose appropriate sanctions where justified upon, registered public accounting firms and associated persons of such firms, in accordance with section 7215 of this title;
(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 otherwise 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) Commission determination
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 professional standards) as may be necessary or appropriate to enable the Commission to determine, not later than 270 days after July 30, 2002, that the Board is so organized and has the capacity to carry out the requirements of this subchapter, and to enforce compliance with this subchapter 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) Board membership
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, brokers, and dealers under the securities laws and the obligations of accountants with respect to the preparation and issuance of audit reports with respect to such disclosures.
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) Full-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) Appointment of Board members
(A) Initial Board
Not later than 90 days after July 30, 2002, the Commission, after consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Governors 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.
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) Term of service
(A) In 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) Term 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) Removal from office
A member of the Board may be removed by the Commission from office, in accordance with section 7217(d)(3) of this title, for good cause shown before the expiration of the term of that member.
(f) Powers of the Board
In addition to any authority granted to the Board otherwise in this Act, the Board shall have the power, subject to section 7217 of this title—
(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 otherwise 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 determine 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, supervisory, or other staff or management positions);
(5) to allocate, assess, and collect accounting support fees established pursuant to section 7219 of this title, for the Board, and other fees and charges imposed under this subchapter; and
(6) to enter into contracts, execute instruments, incur liabilities, 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 subchapter.
(g) Rules of the Board
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 appropriate, 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, determining, 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 matters) 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) Annual report to the Commission
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.
References in Text
This Act, referred to in subsecs. (b), (c)(5), (6), (f), and (g)(1), (4), is Pub. L. 107–204, July 30, 2002, 116 Stat. 745, known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
The District of Columbia Nonprofit Corporation Act, referred to in subsec. (b), is Pub. L. 87–569, Aug. 6, 1962, 76 Stat. 265, as amended, which is not classified to the Code.
For information regarding constitutionality of certain provisions of section 101 of Pub. L. 107–204, see Congressional Research Service, The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation, Appendix 1, Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional in Whole or in Part by the Supreme Court of the United States.
2010—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111–203, §982(b)(2), substituted "companies that" for "public companies that" and struck out "for companies the securities of which are sold to, and held by and for, public investors" after "independent audit reports".
Subsecs. (c)(1), (2), (e)(1). Pub. L. 111–203, §982(b)(1), substituted "issuers, brokers, and dealers" for "issuers".
Effective Date of 2010 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 111–203 effective 1 day after July 21, 2010, except as otherwise provided, see section 4 of Pub. L. 111–203, set out as an Effective Date note under section 5301 of Title 12, Banks and Banking.