Keeping Track of the SEC's Balancing Act

Lora Bentley

As the Securities and Exchange Commission polishes final changes to Sarbanes-Oxley implementation in the weeks before the June deadline, and as key decisions are made regarding other commission practices, it faces a tricky balancing act, according to a piece originally published in The Washington Post.


From one side, of course, comes the pressure to continue to protect investors from Enron-like collapses. From the other is the continuing pressure to make Sarbox compliance and other regulations less burdensome on the industry. Where the commission comes down on these issues, be it for the industry or for investors, will determine what the regulatory environment will look like in coming years, the writer says.


In response to a flood of industry-sponsored studies and deregulation plans, investors and other pro-Sarbox entities have lodged so many complaints that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has scheduled an oversight hearing and invited each SEC commissioner to testify, according to the story. Meanwhile, Treasury heavyweight Robert Steel will launch a new committee this week -- a committee specifically established to "overhaul the accounting sector." The sector's reputation has been tarnished of late because of extremely high fees and the involvment of some firms in the stock option backdating scandal that has affected more than 100 publicly traded companies.


Some former regulators are concerned, the story says, that the SEC is "unduly favoring business." The commission's actions in the coming weeks will reveal whether the concerns are justified.

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