New York (July 30, 2003) -- A year after its passage into law, senior executives like Sarbanes-Oxley even less, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The percentage of senior executives with a favorable opinion of SOX dropped to just 30 percent in June, down from 42 percent in October 2002, according to the latest PwC Management Barometer report. According to the report, 91 percent of executives now say their company has made changes in control and compliance practices as a result of Sarbanes-Oxley, up from 85 percent in October. But only 68 percent are confident that their entire company is in compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, down from 82 percent.

The number of executives who think the law will help to restore investor confidence in the capital markets rose slightly to 35 percent from 31 percent in October. However, 50 percent continue to disagree about the impact of the law on investors, saying it has had little or no effect, PwC reported.

Nearly half (49 percent) of executives now feel that SOX is "a well-meaning attempt, but will impose unnecessary costs on companies", compared to 42 percent in October. In addition, the number of executives describing Sarbanes-Oxley compliance as costly nearly doubled from 32 percent in October to 60 percent June, and 85 percent now expect higher long-term costs of compliance, compared to 71 percent.

An unchanged number -- 83 percent -- agreed that SOX should apply to foreign registrants, saying it is appropriate that all companies listed in the U.S. should play by the same rules, while 15 percent believe that any such SEC requirement is overreaching and will have negative repercussions.

-- WebCPA staff

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