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Piwowar: SEC Must Focus on Materiality, Not Social Issues

Joe Mont | November 18, 2015

Don’t believe the hype about divisiveness at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The increasingly common occurrence of split votes along party lines is a byproduct of Congressional mandates, notably through the Dodd-Frank Act, that wedge social issues into the disclosure regime at the expense of materiality. That’s the word from Commissioner Michael Piwowar who touched upon those issues, IFRS standard setting, and XBRL adoption during a talk at the 34th Annual Current Financial Reporting Issues Conference this week in New York City.

We break down both his prepared remarks and comments made during a question and answer session that followed.

Shaping the Commission

The SEC, Piwowar pointed out, “has been a lawyer-led agency throughout most of its history.” To his knowledge, he is only the third Ph.D. economist to serve as a commissioner. “Perhaps in the not too distant future, we will see a certified public accountant (CPA) named as a...

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