December 21, 2012 / 9:01 PM / in 5 years

SEC taps Beswick to serve as agency's top accountant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Paul Beswick, the acting chief accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, has been named to the position permanently, the agency announced on Friday.

The announcement marks one of the first public personnel decisions by SEC Chairman Elisse Walter, who took over the post on December 14 after Mary Schapiro stepped down.

Beswick will replace Jim Kroecker, who left in July. He has been serving as acting chief accountant for the past several months.

He will take over the post at a critical time for the SEC, which is engaged in tense negotiations with China in an effort to get access to work papers by audit firms that review the books of China-based companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.

After making little progress in talks with China, the SEC took an aggressive stance against the Chinese affiliates of Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO and Ernst & Young earlier this month after those firms failed to supply documents relating to audits of U.S.-listed Chinese companies suspected of possible wrongdoing.

The Office of the Chief Accountant at the SEC has been deeply involved in efforts to strike a deal with China.

Before being tapped as acting chief accountant, Beswick served as deputy chief accountant.

He was a central figure in the SEC’s study of International Financial Reporting Standards, or IFRS. He directed a multi-year effort to help the commission evaluate IFRS, including preparation of a final report released earlier this year.

He has served at the SEC since 2007. Prior to joining the SEC, he worked as a partner at Ernst & Young.

Reporting By Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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