Monday, December 18, 2006

Socks and SOX

Procrastination is underrated as a life skill. Sure, it makes your boss see you as an underperforming loser and maybe you are. And if you put off doing the wash you may have to go out in your Last Resort Laundry Day Outfit, which in my case consists of a pair of high-waisted "mom" jeans two sizes too big and that flowered shirt my mother bought me that I’m saving to wear on my first day at the nursing home years hence.

But sometimes the procrastination gods smile on us. Last week I kept intending to write one more post on the Interim Report of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation. I meant to quote an article that quoted a bunch of experts who, not being procrastinators, declared the report "dead on arrival" the very day it was released. I never got to it, and that saved me embarrassment, because the experts were wrong.

In fact, shortly after the report came out a bunch of its recommendations were adopted, one by one, as if Angelina Jolie had suddenly taken pity on them. First there was the SEC’s proposal to let foreign companies bid their SEC registrations good-bye even if a lot of Americans still hold their securities. Then the Justice Department decided it would no longer take it personally if a company it wants to prosecute turns down its polite invitations to waive attorney-client privilege or suspend payment to employees’ lawyers. (I favored this move, along with the ACLU and Ed Meese, making this one a real crowd-pleaser.) And the PCAOB announced it was tired of listening to everyone whine about its post-SOX auditing standard on internal control over financial reporting, and would finally change it. Plus it promised to conduct a cost-benefit analysis, fulfilling another of the report’s wishes.

Of course much of this was in the works well before the report came out. And many of the Committee's suggestions are still being ignored. Nevertheless, I’m going to celebrate by not washing my socks today.