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The trial of Sarbanes-Oxley

The trial of Sarbanes-Oxley

by Rick Turoczy on April 20, 2006

Down in Houston the Enron trial proceeds apace. But far more significant for business, in America and beyond, than the fate of the energy company’s former bosses is the outcome of another “trial” that is now at a crucial stage–that of the legislation introduced by Congress in 2002 in the wake of the Enron scandal.

The act was named after its two main sponsors, Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman Mike Oxley. Sarbanes-Oxley, or SOX, as it has become known, was unpopular with business people from the start. In recent years it has been hard to find a chief executive of a public company who does not complain vehemently about the burdens imposed by the dreaded SOX. Indeed, rather than diminish as the initial shock wore off, the complaints have only got louder. The SOX-bashers have been joined by such luminaries as Alan Greenspan, the former head of the Federal Reserve and Bob Greifeld, the boss of the NASDAQ stockmarket. And the critics are not just American. Because of SOX, says Mr Greifeld, “international business clearly perceives a ‘problem’ with US markets today.”

The trial of Sarbanes-Oxley

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