SEC Okays Auditor Influence, Insider Trading Regulations

April 24, 2003 ( - Corporate managers would be banned from strong-arming auditors reviewing their books under one of two rules green lighted Thursday by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The ban on improper interference with auditors, preliminarily approved in mid-October, prohibits corporate officers, directors or anyone acting under their direction “to fraudulently influence, coerce, manipulate or mislead the auditor” of a company’s books, according to a Reuters report.

The new insider trading rules – the second initiative to receive SEC approval Thursday –   require electronic reporting to the SEC within two days and rapid Internet posting of corporate insiders’ stock transactions where possible, to make it easier and quicker to see who’s buying and selling.   Chief executives, board directors and anyone holding 10% or more of a company’s outstanding shares will be affected by the rule, regulators said (See SEC Proposes Online Stock Filing ).

Both rules were called for by the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate and accounting reforms adopted last summer by Congress amid a rash of accounting scandals like those at Enron Corp., WorldCom Inc., Tyco International Ltd. and elsewhere (See  SEC Fills in Sarbanes-Oxley Details).