The SEC extended the time for briefings to be filed in the appeal of the Chinese affiliates of the Big Four firms against the January 2014 decision by an Admin-istrative Trial Judge to ban them for six months. The final brief is now due on May 29, 2015, meaning that a final decision is unlikely before late summer.
Both the SEC and the Big Four indicate that substantial progress has been made towards a settlement, “however, the multi-party nature of the negotiations, the importance, complexity and sensitivity of the matters under discussion, and the legal and cross-border regulatory issues presented have continued to require significant time and care to discuss.” The negotiations, of course, are not be-tween the SEC and the Big Four, they are between the SEC and China, since the Big Four have no means to negotiate a settlement. It is all up to China to deter-mine the extent to which it is willing to cooperate with U.S. securities regulators on Chinese companies listed in the U.S.
In a closely related matter, U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) negotiations for regulatory access to China have been going on for a decade. PCAOB Chairman James Doty recently said that those negotiations were in a “difficult and frustrating place”. Shaswat Das, Associate Director of the PCAOB’s office of International Affairs and Alan Lo Re, Assistant Director Attorn-ey of the PCAOB’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations are scheduled to speak at a conference in Beijing on Thursday, and perhaps have meetings scheduled with Chinese regulators.