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How Sarbanes-Oxley will affect publicly traded companies

How do I know which regulations affect my company? I am a large publicly traded retailer.

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Check with your in-house compliance officer or legal counsel and do your own due diligence. A few examples to consider:

1. For a publicly traded company, applicable regulations will likely include financial reporting and corporate governance rules that are intended to protect investors, such as the rules introduced or reinforced in the U.S. by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

2. Consumer privacy laws may also apply to large retailers that keep records on customer accounts and credit card transactions. Privacy laws have been passed at state and national levels in the U.S. and many countries have adopted strong privacy laws to implement the European Union directive on data protection.

3. Large retailers tend to be large employers, and various employment-related laws and regulations impose record-keeping and reporting requirements. Examples include occupational health and safety regulations, and the HIPAA privacy and security rules which may apply to employee records containing health and benefits information.

In addition to developing records retention, backup and archiving policies that meet current regulatory requirements, you should establish procedures to review the policies and procedures periodically in light of emerging laws and evolving regulatory interpretations.

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This was first published in February 2004

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