SEC probing former chair of auditing industry regulator

The U.S. markets regulator is investigating whether the recently ousted head of its accounting watchdog violated any rules in his handling of internal complaints, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division is probing the actions of William Duhnke, who was dismissed from the role of chair of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) two weeks ago, the report said. Duhnke had held the role since January 2018.

“As a matter of policy, the SEC conducts investigations on a confidential basis and does not acknowledge the existence or non-existence of any investigation unless or until charges are filed,” a spokesperson for the SEC said, declining to comment further.

Duhnke’s ouster was viewed as a warning shot by the new SEC chair Gary Gensler, who took the helm at the markets regulator in April.

The examinations arm of the markets regulator is also probing how the PCAOB has been run, including its handling of whistleblowers and other employees, the Journal said.