This Day On The Street
Continue to site
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

The Good News About Bad Corporate Behavior

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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) 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 - Get Report) 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.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

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
Stocks Under $10

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

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

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
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

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

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
BAC $18.13 -0.17%
NWS $14.29 -0.35%
MRK $58.52 -0.03%
UBS $22.99 0.74%
WMT $72.16 -0.10%

Markets

Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,745.98 -5.41 -0.03%
S&P 500 2,108.63 +0.06 0.00%
NASDAQ 5,128.7850 +17.0520 0.33%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs