Risk Managers Doubt Sarbanes-Oxley's Effectiveness

April 9, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Six out of 10 professional risk managers have some degree of doubt that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act will significantly reduce corporate malfeasance.

While 28% were hesitant and not exactly sure of the degree of effectiveness that would be seen from the legislation, 33% said they did not think that it would work well.   Only slightly more, 39% of the 115 respondents, believed implementation of the act would take steps to significantly reduce corporate malfeasance, according to the results of a Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc. survey.

Moreover, there is significant divergence in corporate governance programs beyond Sarbanes-Oxley. For example, nearly one in three (27%) respondents say their companies do not have a formal whistleblower process, with an additional 3% not even aware if such a program exists at their organization.

“Given that whistle blowers proved instrumental in uncovering fraud in recent high-profile cases and that such a policy is one of the easiest elements of a corporate governance program to put in place, it’s surprising more companies haven’t done so,” says Brian Gauen, vice-president of underwriting for directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for Allianz Insurance Company.