Corporate CEOs, CFOs Voluntarily Certify SEC Filings

As stock prices continue to decline, companies seem to be growing as impatient as investors. Some corporate officers who are not required to comply with the certification order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are doing so voluntarily, despite the risk of personal liability for making a false statement.

Companies that choose to go this route may also issue press releases to make sure they get recognized by the capital markets. Examples:

  • Technitrol, Inc., a producer of electrical and electronic parts, announced it would voluntarily adopt the SEC's rule on financial statement certifications starting with its second quarter 2002 Form 10-Q, even though this is earlier than required for the companies that are obligated to comply. CEO James M. Papada, III, explained, "We believe these rules make good overall sense. Public confidence in business and business leaders must be restored."

  • Cycle Country Accessories Corp., a manufacturer of accessories for the all-terrain vehicle (ATV), has announced it is taking the initiative with regard to the rule. President Ron Hickman explained, "Even though we are not required to file these sworn written statements as noted by the SEC's order, we strongly welcome an environment of truth and accountability."

  • ACE Limited, a provider of insurance and reinsurance, announced that its CEO and CFO would voluntarily comply with the new certification requirements, even though, as a non-U.S. company, ACE is not among those companies subject to the SEC's order. CEO Brian Duperreault said, "ACE adheres to the highest standards of financial reporting and it has always been our intention to adopt industry best practices. Accordingly, Phil Bancroft, ACE's Chief Financial Officer, and I have decided to voluntarily file the newly required statements."

In a CNN interview with Lou Dobbs on July 15, 2002, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt said the Commission has been getting telephone calls from other companies as well, asking if they can voluntarily comply with the orders. He said he considers this to be a very positive development.

-Rosemary Schlank

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