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At 15, Sarbanes-Oxley Act inspires reflection, renewed attacks

Joe Mont | July 24, 2017

On July 30, there will be an important anniversary for the world of compliance. It was 15 years ago, following massive accounting scandals and corporate culture free-falls at Enron and WorldCom, that Congress enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

SOX required corporations' annual financial reports to include an Internal Control Report. It created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and made it a crime to destroy records to hide illicit behavior. The law also imposed criminal penalties for certifying misleading or fraudulent financial reports.

Amid recent talk by both Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission about encouraging capital formation and helping more companies go public, the SOX birthday party means it is once again under a microscope. Critics of corporate compliance burdens are extending efforts to scale back demands of the Dodd-Frank Act to the foundational legislation.

Amid all this is a baseline question: After a decade-and-a-half,... To get the full story, subscribe now.