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PCAOB Sees Increase in Deficiencies in Inspections of 2016 Audits

The PCAOB recently issued its annual report under its interim inspection program of audits of SEC-registered brokers and dealers. The report focuses on the audits and related attestation engagements during 2016 and describes independence findings and audit, attestation, and other deficiencies observed from the inspections. The PCAOB inspected 75 firms covering portions of 115 audits and related attestation engagements and found deficiencies in over 80% of the broker-dealer audits it inspected in 2016, up from 77% in 2015. The PCAOB also found that auditor independence was flawed in 10 percent of the firms it audited, up from 7 percent in the previous year. According to the Wall Street Journal, the PCAOB has consistently found high levels of deficiencies in broker-dealer inspections since it began the inspections in 2011. The PCAOB reported that deficiencies were observed in the audits at 73 of the 75 firms inspected during 2016, and in the related attestation engagements at 46 of the 75 firms. Deficiencies also were observed in 96 of the 115 audits covered by the 2016 inspections, an increase to 83 percent from 77 percent in 2015, and in 55 of the 115 related attestation engagements, a decrease from 55 percent in 2015 to 48 percent in 2016.