17 CFR 240.10A-3 - Listing standards relating to audit committees.

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§ 240.10A-3 Listing standards relating to audit committees.
(a) Pursuant to section 10A(m) of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78j-1(m)) and section 3 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7202):
(1) National securities exchanges. The rules of each national securities exchange registered pursuant to section 6 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78f) must, in accordance with the provisions of this section, prohibit the initial or continued listing of any security of an issuer that is not in compliance with the requirements of any portion of paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.
(2) National securities associations. The rules of each national securities association registered pursuant to section 15A of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78o-3) must, in accordance with the provisions of this section, prohibit the initial or continued listing in an automated inter-dealer quotation system of any security of an issuer that is not in compliance with the requirements of any portion of paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.
(3) Opportunity to cure defects. The rules required by paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section must provide for appropriate procedures for a listed issuer to have an opportunity to cure any defects that would be the basis for a prohibition under paragraph (a) of this section, before the imposition of such prohibition. Such rules also may provide that if a member of an audit committee ceases to be independent in accordance with the requirements of this section for reasons outside the member's reasonable control, that person, with notice by the issuer to the applicable national securities exchange or national securities association, may remain an audit committee member of the listed issuer until the earlier of the next annual shareholders meeting of the listed issuer or one year from the occurrence of the event that caused the member to be no longer independent.
(4) Notification of noncompliance. The rules required by paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section must include a requirement that a listed issuer must notify the applicable national securitiesexchange or national securities association promptly after an executive officer of the listed issuer becomes aware of any material noncompliance by the listed issuer with the requirements of this section.
(5) Implementation. (i) The rules of each national securities exchange or national securities association meeting the requirements of this section must be operative, and listed issuers must be in compliance with those rules, by the following dates:
(A) July 31, 2005 for foreign private issuers and smaller reporting companies (as defined in § 240.12b-2); and
(B) For all other listed issuers, the earlier of the listed issuer's first annual shareholders meeting after January 15, 2004, or October 31, 2004.
(ii) Each national securities exchange and national securities association must provide to the Commission, no later than July 15, 2003, proposed rules or rule amendments that comply with this section.
(iii) Each national securities exchange and national securities association must have final rules or rule amendments that comply with this section approved by the Commission no later than December 1, 2003.
(b) Required standards—(1) Independence. (i) Each member of the audit committee must be a member of the board of directors of the listed issuer, and must otherwise be independent; provided that, where a listed issuer is one of two dual holding companies, those companies may designate one audit committee for both companies so long as each member of the audit committee is a member of the board of directors of at least one of such dual holding companies.
(ii) Independence requirements for non-investment company issuers. In order to be considered to be independent for purposes of this paragraph (b)(1), a member of an audit committee of a listed issuer that is not an investment company may not, other than in his or her capacity as a member of the audit committee, the board of directors, or any other board committee:
(A) Accept directly or indirectly any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from the issuer or any subsidiary thereof, provided that, unless the rules of the national securities exchange or national securities association provide otherwise, compensatory fees do not include the receipt of fixed amounts of compensation under a retirement plan (including deferred compensation) for prior service with the listed issuer (provided that such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or
(B) Be an affiliated person of the issuer or any subsidiary thereof.
(iii) Independence requirements for investment company issuers. In order to be considered to be independent for purposes of this paragraph (b)(1), a member of an audit committee of a listed issuer that is an investment company may not, other than in his or her capacity as a member of the audit committee, the board of directors, or any other board committee:
(A) Accept directly or indirectly any consulting, advisory, or other compensatory fee from the issuer or any subsidiary thereof, provided that, unless the rules of the national securities exchange or national securities association provide otherwise, compensatory fees do not include the receipt of fixed amounts of compensation under a retirement plan (including deferred compensation) for prior service with the listed issuer (provided that such compensation is not contingent in any way on continued service); or
(B) Be an “interested person” of the issuer as defined in section 2(a)(19) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-2(a)(19)).
(iv) Exemptions from the independence requirements. (A) For an issuer listing securities pursuant to a registration statement under section 12 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78l), or for an issuer that has a registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.) covering an initial public offering of securities to be listed by the issuer, where in each case the listed issuer was not, immediately prior to the effective date of such registration statement, required to file reports with the Commission pursuant to section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78m(a) or 78o(d)):
(1) All but one of the members of the listed issuer's audit committee may be exempt from the independence requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section for 90 days from the date of effectiveness of such registration statement; and
(2) A minority of the members of the listed issuer's audit committee may be exempt from the independence requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section for one year from the date of effectiveness of such registration statement.
(B) An audit committee member that sits on the board of directors of a listed issuer and an affiliate of the listed issuer is exempt from the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B) of this section if the member, except for being a director on each such board of directors, otherwise meets the independence requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section for each such entity, including the receipt of only ordinary-course compensation for serving as a member of the board of directors, audit committee or any other board committee of each such entity.
(C) An employee of a foreign private issuer who is not an executive officer of the foreign private issuer is exempt from the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section if the employee is elected or named to the board of directors or audit committee of the foreign private issuer pursuant to the issuer's governing law or documents, an employee collective bargaining or similar agreement or other home country legal or listing requirements.
(D) An audit committee member of a foreign private issuer may be exempt from the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B) of this section if that member meets the following requirements:
(1) The member is an affiliate of the foreign private issuer or a representative of such an affiliate;
(2) The member has only observer status on, and is not a voting member or the chair of, the audit committee; and
(3) Neither the member nor the affiliate is an executive officer of the foreign private issuer.
(E) An audit committee member of a foreign private issuer may be exempt from the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B) of this section if that member meets the following requirements:
(1) The member is a representative or designee of a foreign government or foreign governmental entity that is an affiliate of the foreign private issuer; and
(2) The member is not an executive officer of the foreign private issuer.
(F) In addition to paragraphs (b)(1)(iv)(A) through (E) of this section, the Commission may exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1)(ii) or (b)(1)(iii) of this section a particular relationship with respect to audit committee members, as the Commission determines appropriate in light of the circumstances.
(2) Responsibilities relating to registered public accounting firms. The audit committee of each listed issuer, in its capacity as a committee of the board of directors, must be directly responsible for the appointment, compensation, retention and oversight of the work of any registered public accounting firm engaged (including resolution of disagreements between management and the auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attest services for the listed issuer, and each such registered public accounting firm must report directly to the audit committee.
(3) Complaints. Each audit committee must establish procedures for:
(i) The receipt, retention, and treatment of complaints received by the listed issuer regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, or auditing matters; and
(ii) The confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the listed issuer of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
(4) Authority to engage advisers. Each audit committee must have the authority to engage independent counsel and other advisers, as it determines necessary to carry out its duties.
(5) Funding. Each listed issuer must provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the audit committee, in its capacity as a committee of the board of directors, for payment of:
(i) Compensation to any registered public accounting firm engaged for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attest services for the listed issuer;
(ii) Compensation to any advisers employed by the audit committee under paragraph (b)(4) of this section; and
(iii) Ordinary administrative expenses of the audit committee that are necessary or appropriate in carrying out its duties.
(c) General exemptions. (1) At any time when an issuer has a class of securities that is listed on a national securities exchange or national securities association subject to the requirements of this section, the listing of other classes of securities of the listed issuer on a national securities exchange or national securities association is not subject to the requirements of this section.
(2) At any time when an issuer has a class of common equity securities (or similar securities) that is listed on a national securities exchange or national securities association subject to the requirements of this section, the listing of classes of securities of a direct or indirect consolidated subsidiary or an at least 50% beneficially owned subsidiary of the issuer (except classes of equity securities, other than non-convertible, non-participating preferred securities, of such subsidiary) is not subject to the requirements of this section.
(3) The listing of securities of a foreign private issuer is not subject to the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of this section if the foreign private issuer meets the following requirements:
(i) The foreign private issuer has a board of auditors (or similar body), or has statutory auditors, established and selected pursuant to home country legal or listing provisions expressly requiring or permitting such a board or similar body;
(ii) The board or body, or statutory auditors is required under home country legal or listing requirements to be either:
(A) Separate from the board of directors; or
(B) Composed of one or more members of the board of directors and one or more members that are not also members of the board of directors;
(iii) The board or body, or statutory auditors, are not elected by management of such issuer and no executive officer of the foreign private issuer is a member of such board or body, or statutory auditors;
(iv) Home country legal or listing provisions set forth or provide for standards for the independence of such board or body, or statutory auditors, from the foreign private issuer or the management of such issuer;
(v) Such board or body, or statutory auditors, in accordance with any applicable home country legal or listing requirements or the issuer's governing documents, are responsible, to the extent permitted by law, for the appointment, retention and oversight of the work of any registered public accounting firm engaged (including, to the extent permitted by law, the resolution of disagreements between management and the auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or performing other audit, review or attest services for the issuer; and
(vi) The audit committee requirements of paragraphs (b)(3), (b)(4) and (b)(5) of this section apply to such board or body, or statutory auditors, to the extent permitted by law.
(4) The listing of a security futures product cleared by a clearing agency that is registered pursuant to section 17A of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78q-1) or that is exempt from the registration requirements of section 17A pursuant to paragraph (b)(7)(A) of such section is not subject to the requirements of this section.
(5) The listing of a standardized option, as defined in § 240.9b-1(a)(4), issued by a clearing agency that is registered pursuant to section 17A of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78q-1) is not subject to the requirements of this section.
(6) The listing of securities of the following listed issuers are not subject to the requirements of this section:
(i) Asset-Backed Issuers (as defined in § 229.1101 of this chapter);
(ii) Unit investment trusts (as defined in 15 U.S.C. 80a-4(2)); and
(iii) Foreign governments (as defined in § 240.3b-4(a)).
(7) The listing of securities of a listed issuer is not subject to the requirements of this section if:
(i) The listed issuer, as reflected in the applicable listing application, is organized as a trust or other unincorporated association that does not have a board of directors or persons acting in a similar capacity; and
(ii) The activities of the listed issuer that is described in paragraph (c)(7)(i) of this section are limited to passively owning or holding (as well as administering and distributing amounts in respect of) securities, rights, collateral or other assets on behalf of or for the benefit of the holders of the listed securities.
(d) Disclosure. Any listed issuer availing itself of an exemption from the independence standards contained in paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section (except paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(B) of this section), the general exemption contained in paragraph (c)(3) of this section or the last sentence of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, must:
(1) Disclose its reliance on the exemption and its assessment of whether, and if so, how, such reliance would materially adversely affect the ability of the audit committee to act independently and to satisfy the other requirements of this section in any proxy or information statement for a meeting of shareholders at which directors are elected that is filed with the Commission pursuant to the requirements of section 14 of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78n); and
(2) Disclose the information specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section in, or incorporate such information by reference from such proxy or information statement filed with the Commission into, its annual report filed with the Commission pursuant to the requirements of section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Act (15 U.S.C. 78m(a) or 78o(d)).
(e) Definitions. Unless the context otherwise requires, all terms used in this section have the same meaning as in the Act. In addition, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions apply for purposes of this section:
(1)
(i) The term affiliate of, or a person affiliated with, a specified person, means a person that directly, or indirectly through one or more intermediaries, controls, or is controlled by, or is under common control with, the person specified.
(ii)
(A) A person will be deemed not to be in control of a specified person for purposes of this section if the person:
(1) Is not the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of more than 10% of any class of voting equity securities of the specified person; and
(2) Is not an executive officer of the specified person.
(B) Paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) of this section only creates a safe harbor position that a person does not control a specified person. The existence of the safe harbor does not create a presumption in any way that a person exceeding the ownership requirement in paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section controls or is otherwise an affiliate of a specified person.
(iii) The following will be deemed to be affiliates:
(B) A director who also is an employee of an affiliate;
(C) A general partner of an affiliate; and
(D) A managing member of an affiliate.
(iv) For purposes of paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section, dual holding companies will not be deemed to be affiliates of or persons affiliated with each other by virtue of their dual holding company arrangements with each other, including where directors of one dual holding company are also directors of the other dual holding company, or where directors of one or both dual holding companies are also directors of the businesses jointly controlled, directly or indirectly, by the dual holding companies (and, in each case, receive only ordinary-course compensation for serving as a member of the board of directors, audit committee or any other board committee of the dual holding companies or any entity that is jointly controlled, directly or indirectly, by the dual holding companies).
(2) In the case of foreign private issuers with a two-tier board system, the term board of directors means the supervisory or non-management board.
(3) In the case of a listed issuer that is a limited partnership or limited liability company where such entity does not have a board of directors or equivalent body, the term board of directors means the board of directors of the managing general partner, managing member or equivalent body.
(4) The term control (including the terms controlling, controlled by and under common control with) means the possession, direct or indirect, of the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person, whether through the ownership of voting securities, by contract, or otherwise.
(5) The term dual holding companies means two foreign private issuers that:
(i) Are organized in different national jurisdictions;
(ii) Collectively own and supervise the management of one or more businesses which are conducted as a single economic enterprise; and
(iii) Do not conduct any business other than collectively owning and supervising such businesses and activities reasonably incidental thereto.
(6) The term executive officer has the meaning set forth in § 240.3b-7.
(7) The term foreign private issuer has the meaning set forth in § 240.3b-4(c).
(8) The term indirect acceptance by a member of an audit committee of any consulting, advisory or other compensatory fee includes acceptance of such a fee by a spouse, a minor child or stepchild or a child or stepchild sharing a home with the member or by an entity in which such member is a partner, member, an officer such as a managing director occupying a comparable position or executive officer, or occupies a similar position (except limited partners, non-managing members and those occupying similar positions who, in each case, have no active role in providing services to the entity) and which provides accounting, consulting, legal, investment banking or financial advisory services to the issuer or any subsidiary of the issuer.
(9) The terms listed and listing refer to securities listed on a national securities exchange or listed in an automated inter-dealer quotation system of a national securities association or to issuers of such securities.
Instructions to § 240.10A-3:
1. The requirements in paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(5), (c)(3)(v) and (c)(3)(vi) of this section do not conflict with, and do not affect the application of, any requirement or ability under a listed issuer's governing law or documents or other home country legal or listing provisions that requires or permits shareholders to ultimately vote on, approve or ratify such requirements. The requirements instead relate to the assignment of responsibility as between the audit committee and management. In such an instance, however, if the listed issuer provides a recommendation or nomination regarding such responsibilities to shareholders, the audit committee of the listed issuer, or body performing similar functions, must be responsible for making the recommendation or nomination.
2. The requirements in paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(5), (c)(3)(v), (c)(3)(vi) and Instruction 1 of this section do not conflict with any legal or listing requirement in a listed issuer's home jurisdiction that prohibits the full board of directors from delegating such responsibilities to the listed issuer's audit committee or limits the degree of such delegation. In that case, the audit committee, or body performing similar functions, must be granted such responsibilities, which can include advisory powers, with respect to such matters to the extent permitted by law, including submitting nominations or recommendations to the full board.
3. The requirements in paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(5), (c)(3)(v) and (c)(3)(vi) of this section do not conflict with any legal or listing requirement in a listed issuer's home jurisdiction that vests such responsibilities with a government entity or tribunal. In that case, the audit committee, or body performing similar functions, must be granted such responsibilities, which can include advisory powers, with respect to such matters to the extent permitted by law.
4. For purposes of this section, the determination of a person's beneficial ownership must be made in accordance with § 240.13d-3.
[68 FR 18818, Apr. 16, 2003, as amended at 70 FR 1620, Jan. 7, 2005; 73 FR 973, Jan. 4, 2008]

Title 17 published on 2014-04-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 17.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-12-05; vol. 79 # 234 - Friday, December 5, 2014
    1. 79 FR 72252 - Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
      Final rule and form; final rule amendment; technical amendment.
      Effective date: February 3, 2015. Compliance date: The applicable compliance dates are discussed in Section IV.F of this release.
      17 CFR Parts 240, 242, and 249

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

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United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 7 - AGRICULTURE
U.S. Code: Title 12 - BANKS AND BANKING
U.S. Code: Title 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE

§ 27dd

§ 77c - Classes of securities under this subchapter

§ 77d - Exempted transactions

§ 77g - Information required in registration statement

§ 77j - Information required in prospectus

§ 77s - Special powers of Commission

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 77eee - Securities required to be registered under Securities Act

§ 77ggg - Qualification of indentures covering securities not required to be registered

§ 77nnn - Reports by obligor; evidence of compliance with indenture provisions

§ 77sss - Rules, regulations, and orders

§ 77ttt - Hearings by Commission

§ 78c - Definitions and application

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 78d - Securities and Exchange Commission

§ 78e - Transactions on unregistered exchanges

§ 78f - National securities exchanges

§ 78g - Margin requirements

§ 78i - Manipulation of security prices

§ 78j - Manipulative and deceptive devices

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 78k - Trading by members of exchanges, brokers, and dealers

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § -

§ 78m - Periodical and other reports

§ 78n - Proxies

15 U.S. Code § -

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 78p - Directors, officers, and principal stockholders

§ 78q - Records and reports

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 78s - Registration, responsibilities, and oversight of self-regulatory organizations

15 U.S. Code § 32, 33 - Repealed.

§ 78w - Rules, regulations, and orders; annual reports

§ 78x - Public availability of information

15 U.S. Code § -

§ 78mm - General exemptive authority

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

15 U.S. Code § 79 to 79z–6 - Repealed.

§ 7201 - Definitions

§ 7202 - Commission rules and enforcement

§ 8302 - Review of regulatory authority

U.S. Code: Title 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Statutes at Large

Title 17 published on 2014-04-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 17 CFR 240 after this date.

  • 2014-12-05; vol. 79 # 234 - Friday, December 5, 2014
    1. 79 FR 72252 - Regulation Systems Compliance and Integrity
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
      Final rule and form; final rule amendment; technical amendment.
      Effective date: February 3, 2015. Compliance date: The applicable compliance dates are discussed in Section IV.F of this release.
      17 CFR Parts 240, 242, and 249