Business Ethics (2002)

A conservative columnist at the Wall Street Journal wrote of the Enron affair as the “systemic failure” at the root of the matter, one that touched “Directors suspending their ethical guidelines…Accountants and lawyers studiously looking the other way…Wall Street analysts failing in their principal duty.” The obligations inherent in commercial transactions are clearly spelled out in Jewish law – in Torah, in Talmud, in codes and responsa: Simply stated, all deception is forbidden and absolute honesty is expected.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges that:

  1. Complete and accurate information be provided to investors; that such responsibility rests with management, attested to by independent auditors, and reviewed by those who possess the knowledge so that investors can receive an accurate representation of performance, financial conditions, and the risks – all within a relevant time period.
  2. Reports prepared according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) should present fairly the financial condition of a company, showing revenues and expenses in the same time period to reflect earnings, cash flow, and other well-established measures of performance.
  3. All market participants are responsible to investors to provide an objective perspective. All conflicts of interest should be fully disclosed.
  4. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues its critical role in developing and enforcing our laws and regulations. The integrity of our stock markets must be maintained so that public interests are protected from fraud, whether deliberate or through error.