RamMohan R. Yallapragada Alfred Toma C. William Roe


In the late 1990s, financial markets in the United States (U S ) were rocked by accounting scandals in companies such as Enron and WorldCom. Public confidence in American business was at a low ebb. As a knee-jerk reaction to the scandals, the U S Congress hastily passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) hoping to restore the lost image of the U S business firms. SOX rendered corporate governance and protecting corporate assets a matter of Federal mandates. Penalties for violation of the provisions of SOX include a maximum of 25 years of prison and/or a fine of twenty five million dollars. For small and mid-size firms, the implementation costs became prohibitive. The exorbitant implementation costs of Section 404 of SOX and the draconian criminal sanctions for senior management are driving companies to flee from The New York Stock Exchange to more favorable exchanges overseas. The London Stock Exchange appears to be the most benefited one from the passage of SOX. This paper presents the salient provisions of SOX, the havoc caused to the business firms by its implementation costs, and the present trend of flight of capital from American stock exchanges to overseas stock exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange.

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