Movaris, a provider of corporate compliance management software recently announced the results of a nationwide poll measuring individual investors' attitudes to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as the level of penalty they would like the law to apply. The poll found that the majority of stockholders want to see punishment for those who violate the law, proving that investors are looking for good corporate governance and adherence to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The poll was conducted by Harris Interactive(R) and surveyed a total of 1,022 adults residing across the United States.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed last year to deter and punish corporate accounting fraud, requires the CEOs and CFOs of public companies to sign off on financial information that is released to the SEC and the public in order to eliminate corporate fraud such as those that occurred with Enron and WorldCom. The poll proves that investor confidence is closely aligned with companies' compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Three in five (59%) investors believe that the law will help protect their stock investments. Additionally, 57 percent said they would be very unlikely to invest in a company that failed to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley.
After witnessing previous corporate scandals, stockholders have made it clear in this poll that they want severe punishment for companies that do not comply with the law. Four in five stockholders (81%) say that a CEO and/or CFO that violates the Sarbanes-Oxley Act should be banned from ever serving on the corporate board of directors for other public companies. Additionally, seven in ten (70%) stockholders say they want a penalty with both jail time and a fine for violating companies.
"Investors will appreciate companies committed to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance programs, as we approach upcoming deadlines," said Kurt Garbe, president and CEO of Movaris. "Our customers already realize the value of good governance, and the importance of extending their programs to address investor confidence for years to come."