Bush unveils 10-point plan

Bush also said he would urge the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US’ main financial regulator, to implement rules for faster and clearer disclosure of financial reporting and tougher penalties for executives who mislead investors.

Bush said: ‘We have seen lately just how important the standards are, and the harm that can follow when they are ignored, … to properly inform shareholders and the investing public, we must adopt better standards of disclosure and accounting practices for all of corporate America.’

Plans include the establishment for an independent regulatory board to oversee the profession and proposals to make chief executives personally responsible for the reliability of company financial statements.

Bush said: ‘Business people must answer not just to the demands of the market and self-interest, but to the demands of conscience.’

The move is seen to be an attempt to deflect attention away from accusations that the Bush administration had been too lax on Enron, one of the largest donors to the Bush presidential campaign.

But, Democrats are already criticising the proposals for falling short of expectations to tighten standards in corporate governance.

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