This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The Good News About Bad Corporate Behavior

Stocks in this article: WMT UBS NWS MRK BAC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I confess I'm a glass-half-full businessman and adviser.

I have found optimism to be one of the leading factors for surviving, let alone thriving, in uncertain and down times like these. Another success factor is being surrounded by and doing business with good, decent people and reliable companies.

Every day that gets a little tougher to do when you see the headlines about major business leaders doing something stupid, illegal or unethical.

As an investor, employee or customer, you have come to trust brands and companies and their leaders for things like quality, safety, dependability and certainly honoring laws and abiding by codes of decency and conduct.

News like this breaks our confidence and security:

  • WalMart's (WMT) Mexico FCPA is facing a bribery investigation
  • UBS (UBS) will pay $26.6 million to resolve charges that its Puerto Rico-based brokerage unit propped up the price of the funds in the secondary market
  • Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS) empire faces troubles over phone tapping and bribery of law-enforcement and political officials
  • Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam has been jailed for insider trading
  • Merck (MRK) agreed to pay almost $1 billion in 2011 for deceptive marketing of Vioxx
  • Venerable commercial and investment banks like Citi (C), JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) have all settled claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding subprime mortgage investments and are in seemingly never-ending SEC investigations over suspected violations

But is there good news about bad corporate behavior? Yes.

Exposure means:

  • Audits are working
  • Everyday people have had enough and are becoming whistleblowers
  • Even the rich and powerful can't hide forever if they're corrupt
  • The judicial and regulatory systems are working bit by bit
  • Internal checks and balances are working
  • Penalties are becoming more severe
  • Company boards are stepping up oversight of CEO conduct
  • C-suites are stepping up their own self-awareness and across-the-company awareness of behavior
  • Companies are revisiting their values statements, policies, procedures, training and processes to pursue with governance, risk, compliance and ethics excellence
  • And investors continue to have access to reliable sources when conducting due diligence in researching companies

So the bad news is bad, but the good news is that we're becoming more aware, more intolerant and more determined than ever to restore trust in business. We are becoming more vigilant in weighing quarterly gains over long-term corporate sustainability and integrity.

So the next time you see an expose headline, say to yourself: "Good, that bad apple's out of the barrel."

Let's hope we can step up our efforts before the barrel is too far gone.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 18,085.06 +54.85 0.30%
S&P 500 2,091.59 +9.71 0.47%
NASDAQ 4,797.4740 +24.0020 0.50%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs