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Ernst & Young agrees to pay $10M to settle SEC investigation

Ernst & Young agrees to pay $10M to settle SEC investigation

British multinational professional services network, Ernst & Young LLP, will reportedly pay a sum of $10 million for the settlement of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company was facing allegations of having improperly secured confidential information for pursuing a contract to audit the books of a public company.

The regulator also penalized four accountants who were allegedly part of the misconduct. These comprised two retired partners, an EY partner, and a former chief accounting officer of the anonymous client company who disclosed the competitive information, as stated by the agency.

The SEC suspended the four accountants from reviewing the financial statements of public companies for periods spanning from one to three years. The settlement order by the Securities and Exchange Commission did not name the audit client.

As per reliable sources, the former Chief Accounting Officer, William G. Stiehl, was fulfilling that role for Sealed Air Corp before he was terminated in June 2019, as per a regulatory filing made by the company. According to a report in February 2020, federal prosecutors and the SEC were looking into concerns that Stiehl had rigged the competition to allow Ernst & Young to win the audit contract of Sealed Air.

Ernst & Young as well as the four accountants agreed for settling the claims of the SEC without denying or admitting misconduct. As stated by Ernst & Young, the company is committed to fair competition for new business and on the basis of its merits and qualifications. The firm has also improved monitoring and training for ensuring compliance with SEC’s request for proposal policies.

According to Charles Cain, an SEC official, auditor independence is not just an obstacle to overcome, but is the bedrock foundation that holds up the reliability, transparency, and integrity of financial reporting.

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Sunil Jha

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for close to two years. Having previously worked as a voice over artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on writing articles for, across a slew of topics, ranging from technology to trade and finance. With a business-oriented educational background, Sunil brings forth the expertise of deep-dive research and a strategic approach in his write ups.