In a speech given yesterday, PCAOB Chairman James Doty said that the Board will seek comment on a third proposal for naming the lead audit partner. Doty recounts the journey so far, including the concept release that "consider[ed] engagement partner signature in 2009," the proposal for "mere disclosure" in 2011 that they sought comment on again in 2013, and now, it has come to this:
I believe there is a middle ground that will provide investors this disclosure in a form that reduces auditors' perception of litigation risk. We have developed such a form, which auditors could file with the PCAOB. At the end of this month I expect to seek comment on such a form and, I hope, bring the U.S. into line with international standards soon.
If the past is any indication of how this will play out, we can either expect the House of Representatives to pass a bill banning disclosure of audit partners' later this year.