In an article published May 16, Financial News Online writer Mark Cobley says, "Investment advisers speaking at a corporate governance in Paris yesterday gave a positive verdict to the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley legislation..." Without reading further, my first thought was, "Well, if these are foreign investment advisers, of course they did. They agree with critics' assessment that Sarbox has made the U.S. less competitive, which is good for their markets."
But I shouldn't have been so hasty. Half of the advisers Cobley quotes in the piece work for U.S.-based companies, and they were lauding Sarbanes-Oxley. Glass Lewis and MCI Communications representatives indicated that Sarbox "gives shareholders powerful tools to combat fraud."
Only International Herald Tribune commentator and former Arthur Andersen auditor Jim Peterson brought pessimism to the table, pointing out that the already shaky audit industry -- built only on four major players -- won't survive another failure. He said,"When the next one goes, the entire structure falls down."