SEC Chairman Christopher Cox didn't mince words last week when addressing criticisms of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) albatross. After this week's Chamber of Commerce suggestion that SOX be reeled in, Cox was definitive in his speech that alterations to the Act were unnecessary.Even after Congressman Barney Frank, head of the House Financial Services Committee came out in support of the Chamber's recommendations; Cox remained steadfast in his pro-SOX stance, according to reports.
Much has been made of the impact of SOX on the competitiveness of U.S. markets in the global economy, as companies are believed to be listing on foreign exchanges to avoid the regulation's demands. However, Cox sees SOX quite differently.
Mr Cox pointed out that competitiveness was driven by "the integrity of the market and investor confidence," indicating that this explained why many foreign countries had adopted key provisions of Sarbox.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The fact is, America's markets continue to set the standard for the world."
While the debate over the benefits and burdens of SOX will surely remain spirited, Cox has time and again made clear his, and the SEC's, position. With such a firm stance outlined by the SEC's chairman, it appears more and more that politicians and business leaders are just blowing hot air at one another.
The full text of Cox's speech is available here.
In related news, Michael Oxley, co-author of SOX, was promoted to vice chairman of Nasdaq.