Group Names Top Firms for Accounting, Governance Excellence

Los Angeles – For the first time, research and rating service Audit Integrity is publicly releasing its Top 100 report, which contains the firm’s ranking of what it views as the best U.S. companies based on the firm’s Accounting and Governance Risk rating.

Audit Integrity said the list rewards companies for transparency in financial reporting and management that is aligned with the interests of corporate stakeholders. According to the firm, companies with high integrity -- and therefore less litigation, financial restatements, compliance issues and related negative events -- have tended to earn higher returns than their peers. The Top 100 averaged 33.4 percent returns during 2006, compared with overall market returns of less than half that level.

The top large-cap companies (valued at $5 billion or more), were AllianceBernstein Holding LP,
Avaya Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. The top mid-cap companies (valued between $1 billion and $5 billion), were 21st Century Insurance Group, Alberto-Culver Co.  and Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. The top small-cap companies (valued between $250 million and $1 billion), were AAON Inc., AmSurg Corp. and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Insurers, auditors, investors and other concerned corporate stakeholders to assess and manage their risk in dealing with public companies, monitor audit Integrity’s AGR ratings.  The report, including the list of wide-ranging public companies, is available at www.auditintegrity.com.

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