Business News

Analysis: Jobs Act doesn’t mean Wild West for companies

(Reuters) – Any U.S. corporate executives who think they can use the Jobs

Act’s relaxed rules for public listing to cut corners on accounting and disclosure may want to think again.

U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Jumpstart Our 

Business Startups (JOBS) Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed
U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business

Startups (JOBS) Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 5, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

The Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on Thursday, may allow

smaller companies new to the markets to reduce their financial regulation, and it removes the requirement for an expensive

internal audit. It does not protect CEOs and CFOs from being sued by regulators and investors for fraud.


emerging growth companies – those with less than $1 billion in revenue – will be exempt from an outside audit of internal

controls for up to five years. Yet senior management must continue to hold its accounting systems to the same standards

introduced in 2002 under Sarbanes Oxley. The corporate reform law, passed after the Enron scandal, was designed to ensure

that companies’ internal controls were in order.

“Management is still reviewing internal controls, testing them, and

giving a report in their 10-K, even if the auditor won’t have to attest to it,” said Rick Kline, a partner at Goodwin

Procter in Menlo Park, California, who specializes in capital markets transactions. “Management understands they have


Despite the loosening of some provisions, “this isn’t the Wild West,” said Brian Margolis, a corporate

partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in New York. “Management that uses this for carte blanche to not have internal

controls is really missing the boat.”

Lawyers say it is not yet clear whether risk for company executives will

increase under the Jobs Act. Companies that neglect bookkeeping will face regulatory action and investor lawsuits. If

management is not viewed as trustworthy, market valuations stand to be punished.

“The moment you fall from following

best practices … you’ll be viewed as something less than premium, and that is going to impact your stock price,” said

Payam Zamani, chief executive of online marketer The company is considering a public offering after withdrawing

plans for one earlier this year.

Some investors say they will be scrutinizing companies even more closely. Without an

independent audit, the risk of management’s failing to find a material weakness – a deficiency in financial reporting that

may lead a company to misstate its numbers – could increase.

“If anything, I might be more demanding (now) because

there is more room for companies to hide problems,” said Yoni Jacobs, chief investment strategist at New York-based

investment management firm Chart Prophet Capital. “You have to be extra diligent.”

Some companies will invariably let

procedures fall by the way. Even the rigorous disclosure and audit rules required by Sarbanes Oxley didn’t prevent a series

of recent accounting scandals that have tainted the image of Chinese companies listed in North America. Trading halts,

delistings, lawsuits and regulatory probes in both the United States and Canada have followed.

Earlier this week

Chicago-based Groupon was sued by shareholders. When the coupon website went public in November, it misled them, the suit

alleges, about its financial performance and concealed weak internal controls under the current disclosure


Groupon management deceived investors – so the suit says – despite backing from top tier Silicon Valley venture

firms, as well as IPO underwriters Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

“You can regulate as much as you

want, but if someone wants to commit fraud, they’ll do it,” said Scott Saks, a corporate partner at Paul Hastings in New

York. “If companies want to get around regulations, they’ll find a way.”

(Edited by Martin Howell and Prudence


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We Recommend

The portal presents worldwide news, covering a large spectrum of content categories including Entertainment, Politics, Sports, Health, Education, Science and Technology and more. Top local and global news in the best possible journalistic quality. We connect users via a free webmail service and innovative.

Analysis: Jobs Act doesn’t mean Wild West for companies

Discover more from Top Local & Global trusted News | Secure Email Account

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading