Those were among the findings of a recent Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Personal-Finance Poll, according to a news release.
Moving on to a key topic for many institutional and other investors, about one-third (36%) say that poor corporate governance had led them to reduce or divest holdings in a company, slightly up from last year (30%). About half of investors (49%) agree that they can trust companies to provide complete and accurate financial information on which they can make investment decisions, according to the poll.
Almost half of US adult investors (49%) say that boards of directors are most responsible for corporate governance, an increase from 45% in 2005. Twenty-one percent of investors consider chief executive officers to be the most responsible, while 19% say senior management is most responsible.
About half of investors agree that boards of directors do a good job at overseeing the companies they govern (55%) and at managing executive compensation (45%). Most investors say that the chairman of the board title should go to an independent director (39%) or the chief executive officer (25%), while a fair amount say they do not know (28%).
Also, when asked about what they knew or may have heard about the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, including its restrictions and penalties for misinterpretation or misuse of company financial information, 32% say the law has been effective at improving the transparency of financial information at public companies, while about one-quarter (24%) say that it has not worked. Twenty-one percent say that Sarbanes-Oxley has been effective at improving boards of directors’ ability to manage executive compensation and 35% say it has not been effective.
The survey was conducted online within the United States between September 19 to 21, 2006 among 2,345 adults (aged 18 and over), 1,345 of whom invest in long-term financial service investment products.