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Deja vu on pension audits.

President Bill Clinton announced another attempt at pension audit reform, which failed to make it into law last year. He said his reform proposal will close loopholes that omit $950 billion in pension plan assets from meaningful audits and will ensure that only qualified professionals conduct audits of plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). "I urge Congress to pass the audit reform this year so that our workers can have the peace of mind they deserve."

Randi Starr, chairwoman of the American Institute of CPAs employee benefit plans committee, told the Journal she doesn't expect to see any significant changes between the persident's new proposals and older versions (see "Clinton Offers Major Pension Changes," JofA, July96, page 17). "The only modifications I see coming are in scope of application. Will the proposal call for repealing limited-scope audits just for pension plans or for health and welfare plans, too?" she asked. Will anything pass in the near future? "I'm past guessing anymore," said Starr.

Brian Cooney, AICPA director-congressional and political affairs, said some elements in the business community do not want limited-scope audits repealed. And although several bills have been introduced, no hearings have been scheduled. "There's a long way to go before we see anything enacted," said Cooney. One reason for the delay has been the secretary of labor vacancy, which has recently been filled (see preceding story). The Department of Labor and the AICPA both support pension audit reform.
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 1, 1997
Previous Article:Herman takes labor post.
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