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Has the US government overreacted to the corporate scandals of Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing and like? Is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in July 2002, an effective antidote to growing corporate dishonesty and a powerful catalyst in restoring investor confidence, or is it another set of overly restrictive rules that will punish most other businesses that have all along abided by the rules? How is the recent American reform looked upon as a model for the rest of the world?
Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia Communications, Tyco International... The apparently endless string of corporate scandals not only sent embattled US investors scurrying for cover but also triggered off a new round of self-examination among Asian listed corporations and market regulators, including Hong Kong.
Corporate governance, some say, is an expansive web of mechanisms put into place within and outside corporations to ensure the interests and behaviour of managers match shareholders' expectations. In the academic world, scholars attempt to unravel the complexity of the problem from different angles and approaches.