- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2005

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday urged the graduating class at one of the nation’s top business schools to remember that, even in a business world tainted by corporate scandal, the nice guy doesn’t always finish last.

Speaking at graduation ceremonies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Mr. Greenspan reminded graduates that their greatest responsibility is to be honest and fair in their business dealings.

“Material success is possible in this world, and far more satisfying, when it comes without exploiting others,” he said. “The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.”

Mr. Greenspan urged the class to hold themselves to high standards and not to cut corners. He referred to the wave of corporate scandals in recent years including WorldCom, Enron and Tyco — and said those types of problems make trust and personal reputation all the more important.

“In virtually all our transactions, whether with customers or with colleagues, with friends or with strangers, we rely on the word of those with whom we do business,” he said. “If we could not do so, goods and services could not be exchanged efficiently.”

Congress responded to the scandals by passing an anti-fraud law in 2002, known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Mr. Greenspan said the law appropriately placed responsibility for certifying the soundness of a company’s accounting with its chief executive officer.

“I am surprised that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, so rapidly developed and enacted, has functioned as well as it has,” he said.

Mr. Greenspan, 79, who is expected to step down from the Fed early next year, quipped that he has something in common with the graduates.

“After all, before long, I too will be looking for a job,” he said.

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