Washington, DC (STL.News) The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Sagar Teotia, the Commission’s Chief Accountant, intends to leave the agency by the end of February after nearly six years of total public service.
As Chief Accountant, Mr. Teotia is the principal advisor to the Commission on accounting and auditing matters. He leads the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant (OCA), which works closely with domestic and international private-sector accounting and auditing standard-setting bodies, and consults with registrants, auditors, and other Commission staff regarding the application of accounting standards, auditing standards, and financial disclosure requirements. In addition, as Chief Accountant, Mr. Teotia is responsible for assisting the Commission with discharging its oversight of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
Since July 2019, Mr. Teotia also has served as Co-Chair of the Monitoring Group, a group of international financial institutions and regulatory bodies committed to advancing the public interest in international auditing matters. Under Mr. Teotia’s co-leadership, the Monitoring Group in July 2020 published recommendations to significantly strengthen the international audit and ethics standard setting system and improve international audit quality.
Mr. Teotia was named as the SEC’s Chief Accountant in 2019 after previously serving as Deputy Chief Accountant. He also previously served as a professional accounting fellow in OCA.
“I greatly appreciate Sagar’s strong and accomplished leadership of OCA, including leading the office during the challenging COVID-19 environment,” said Acting SEC Chairman Elad Roisman. “Sagar’s judgment and expertise – developed with significant credibility and experience in both the public and private sectors – has been critical in allowing the Commission and OCA to advance a number of very consequential improvements to financial reporting and the auditing standards. These improvements have been effected both domestically and internationally, while always maintaining a commitment to investor protection.”
“It has been an absolute honor to work with so many talented professionals at the SEC,” said Mr. Teotia. “I am beyond thankful to Chairman Clayton and Acting Chairman Roisman for giving me this incredible opportunity to serve investors. In my time here, I have been consistently amazed at my colleagues in OCA whose tireless work has contributed so much to the overall financial reporting system and investor protection more broadly. I have been particularly impressed by their efforts during the COVID-19 environment where their work has helped to foster the orderly flow of high quality financial information to investors. Simply put, I am immensely proud of what we have achieved over the last few years, and I am forever grateful for my time at the Commission.”
Under Mr. Teotia’s leadership as Chief Accountant, OCA advanced accounting and auditing policy and improved investor protection on both the domestic and international levels. In addition to the Monitoring Group recommendations published in July 2020 described above, OCA’s many other accomplishments included, among others:
- OCA proactively worked to promote a strong financial reporting system during the unprecedented COVID-19 environment. As Chief Accountant, Mr. Teotia issued timely statements on April 3, 2020, June 23, 2020, and December 6, 2020, which emphasized the critical importance to investors of high quality financial reporting in light of the challenges of COVID-19. During this period of time, OCA performed extensive outreach to stakeholders and addressed numerous complex and emerging issues, all of which helped to address company-specific and system-wide issues and, most importantly, ensured that investors continued to receive high quality financial information on a timely basis.
- OCA led updates of the Commission’s auditor independence rules, finalized by the Commission on October 16, 2020, which modernized the application of the auditor independence rules to more effectively focus on areas that may threaten the objectivity and impartiality of auditors.
- OCA led the oversight and timely implementation of new standards in U.S. GAAP (e.g., leases), which represented significant improvements for investors. OCA was actively engaged via its preclearance consultation process and had proactive communications with the financial reporting system during these implementations.
- OCA significantly and consistently emphasized the importance of audit committees and their role in high quality financial reporting. For example, Chairman Clayton, Division of Corporation Finance Director Bill Hinman, and Mr. Teotia issued a statement on December 30, 2019 on the key role that audit committees play in the financial reporting ecosystem.
- In order to ensure OCA was providing transparent guidance and clear leadership to provide investors with high quality financial information, Mr. Teotia issued (or was part of) ten published speeches and statements while Chief Accountant. Three of these statements for example, emphasized the importance of audit quality in emerging markets and described meetings with audit firm representatives on those matters.
- Mr. Teotia engaged closely with the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) (including FAF Chair Kathy Casey) in support of their important responsibility for the oversight, administration and finances of the FASB. Mr. Teotia also worked very closely with the current FASB Chair (Rich Jones) and the previous FASB Chair (Russ Golden) with the objective of providing high quality financial reporting and disclosure guidance.
- Mr. Teotia worked closely with the PCAOB Board and other leaders at the PCAOB. OCA consistently supported the PCAOB on its important work to drive improvements in audit quality, including the PCAOB’s continued proactive engagement with stakeholders and its other work on improving audit quality.