U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is still talking up Sarbanes-Oxley reform. Reuters reports that he spoke to the Economic Club of New York yesterday about a conference the Treasury will host next year to consider how to protect the economic "competitiveness" of the United States.
He zeroed in on Sarbanes-Oxley internal controls provisions as requiring too much time and money that could have been spent on more business-driven activity. He also pointed out that companies are choosing to remain private or to list in more lightly regulated countries to avoid the high cost and heavy compliance burden of listing in the U.S. There should be more flexibility in the law's application to achieve a balance between investor protection and job creation, he said.
This isn't the first effort at Sarbox reform that Paulson has backed in his brief tenure as Treasury Secretary. Earlier this year, he gave his support to the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a private-sector group determined to address Sarbanes-Oxley changes, shareholder rights, and the proliferation of securities class-action law suits.
If Paulson's two groups -- in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board -- can effect change, maybe Congress won't have to jump in with new legislation.