“If regulation is not the answer, then how can corporations and society prevent fraud in the future? Fastow said we can begin by understanding that structured finance is like steroids: a little can cure many illnesses, but a lot can destroy your organs.
Its use needs to be limited, and investments in firms that use structured vehicles without a clear business reason should be avoided. Mark-to-market accounting can lead to more transparent financial statements but, if abused, can put a company in a hole that it can’t climb out of. The market must value transparency. Companies with the fairest disclosures must be rewarded, not placed at a disadvantage as is now the case. Finally, executives must ask whether a transaction is consistent with the principle and not just the rules. Are they doing it for window dressing or for valid business purposes?”
— Former Enron CFO Andy Fastow reflects on the importance of following principles and not just rules - “If the Auditors Sign Off, Does That Make It Okay?”