Summary of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (often shortened to SOX and named for its sponsors Senator Paul Sarbanes and Representative Michael G. Oxley) is a law that was passed in response to the financial scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. The law establishes new, stricter standards for all US publicly traded companies. It does not apply to privately companies. The Act is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which deals with compliance, rules and requirements. The Act also created a new agency, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, which is in charge of overseeing, regulating, inspecting, and disciplining accounting firms in their roles as auditors of public companies.
Want to read the actual text of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (H.R. 3763)? Click here
Need to print out the complete 66-page act, complete with wide margins and funky Congressional formatting? Here it is, in PDF format.
- Date Enacted: January 23, 2002.
- Sponsors: Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Congressman Michael G. Oxley
- The vote in the Senate: 97-to-0.
- Stated purpose: “To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes.”
SOX-online has collected some of the sections of the act that you might want to read for yourself. They’re hardly the only important sections, however, so be sure to at least read over the List of Sections. [Note from Editor: Ms. Sarbox strongly suggests you read the entire act. But then, she would…]