Financial Times

Governance Watch - Issue 53

Governance Watch - Issue 53

Limbo and Further Limbo

Endless Brexit uncertainty was always going to be bad for corporate governance in the United Kingdom. But on one level, it seems it can be big business. The Financial Times reports that asset managers have paid UK politicians an awful lot of money for speeches and advice over the past year, to help with investment decisions. 

Governance Watch - Issue 46

Governance Watch - Issue 46

Conflict of interest

The Patisserie Valerie saga, covered in the last Governance Watch, is the story that just keeps on giving on corporate governance. 

The Chief and CFO had “second helpings of shares despite no explanation from the chain” reported the Financial Times, following up with a report about £2.9m made from bonus share schemes, and then the company’s admission that it had awarded these bonuses without informing shareholders.  

Governance Watch - Issue 45

Governance Watch - Issue 45

Accounting 

It has been only a week since first media reports on the goings-on at Patisserie Valerie, which said it had discovered "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities" and a £1 million unpaid tax bill. We were told: "The board has now reached the conclusion that there is a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business." It thrust Chairman Luke Johnson, CEO Paul May, Finance Director Chris Marsh and auditors Grant Thornton into the spotlight.

Governance Watch - Issue 44

Governance Watch - Issue 44

Regulation: No ‘race to the bottom’

The uncertainty around Brexit has resulted in heightened media scrutiny of contrasting comments about what might happen to regulation in order to keep Britain “competitive.” 

Governance Watch - Issue 43

Governance Watch - Issue 43

Action, Not Words

This is the new mantra, aimed at British business and being chanted at it from all directions: ‘Action, Not Words’ (as noted in the last Governance Watch) when it comes to gender progression, ethnic representation and inclusion. 

Governance Watch - Issue 40

Governance Watch - Issue 40

Kingman Review

The consultation period for the independent review led by Sir John Kingman into the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the UK’s accounting regulator and corporate governance watchdog, has just closed. It is intended to help ensure that the FRC’s role and powers are fit for the future and has come after years of accountancy in the media headlines for all the wrong reasons. 

Governance Watch - Issue 36

Governance Watch - Issue 36

Gender Pay Gap

It is clearer than ever that for change to take place on gender equality, we need to have women in leadership positions. Nicky Morgan, the Conservative MP for Loughborough and the first female chair of the Commons Treasury select committee, made her astonishment at the gender pay gap in financial services public in an opinion piece in The Guardian, when she outlined next steps for the Women in Finance inquiry. Now we have its report, which finds ‘alpha male culture’ to be the main reason women don’t want to work in senior management in this industry. 

Governance Watch - Issue 34

Governance Watch - Issue 34

Carillion: The Fall Out

There’s a limit, surely, to how often you can plead an exception to the rule when assessing whether something is fit for purpose. When the ‘rule’: in this case, ‘best practice’ in the running a UK listed business adhering to highly esteemed standards of corporate governance, appears to have been ignored more than once within a few years, it’s time to re-think the components of that best practice.

Governance Watch - Issue 32

Governance Watch - Issue 32

Company Accounts

The accuracy of the numbers in company reports lies at the heart of the corporate governance of any business. Institutional investors and shareholders burnt by unexpected company revelations will have welcomed the news that the UK government has just launched an independent review of the accountancy watchdog the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), to be completed by the end of the year. 

Governance Watch - Issue 31

Governance Watch - Issue 31

Gender Pay Gap

It was quite dramatic in the way it was reported in the UK media, but it came as no surprise. As the midnight deadline – set eight years after the law was tabled to compel companies across the country to reveal the extent of the difference between what men and women are paid – came and went, we learnt that women are paid a median hourly rate that is on average 9.7% less than that given to male colleagues. 

Governance Watch - Issue 30

Governance Watch - Issue 30

Audit

It is a little difficult to consider something to be a ‘radical’ idea when it was first proposed seven years ago, in the immediate shadow of the financial crisis – to no avail. A snapshot of business media headlines cast a light on some of the complexities as well as the powerful forces at work that can prevent truly radical ideas from becoming reality.

Governance Watch - Issue 28

Governance Watch - Issue 28

Scrutiny

Many of the revisions and proposed revisions to the UK corporate governance code have been about closer scrutiny for accountability and to raise the bar on standards of behaviour - as have moves on regulation. 

Governance Watch - Issue 26

Governance Watch - Issue 26

#TimesUp And Reputation

Boardrooms all over the world are having to come to grips quickly with the wave of female anger that has been unleashed as women unite to tell their stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. The #MeToo on Twitter -  representing a ‘hands up’ by those who relayed their experience of sexual predators – was fast followed by #TimesUp after Hollywood came together in a bid to exorcise the sexual workplace ethos now associated with Harvey Weinstein

Governance Watch - Issue 25

Governance Watch - Issue 25

Audit, Advice, Governance – And Giant Squids

A warning bell rang out last week with media headlines around audit, consultancy, legal services and governance. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), the country’s securities regulator, banned global accountancy firm PwC from auditing listed companies in the country for two years after failing to spot a $1.7bn fraud at Satyam Computer Services. “The order comes nine years after the scam at Satyam Computer Services came to light and after two failed attempts by PwC to settle the case through the consent mechanism” wrote Live Mint. 

Governance Watch - Issue 21

Governance Watch - Issue 21

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: THE ESSENCE OF A BUSINESS

The demands of rapid technological transformation are casting fresh light on the urgent need for every business to be able to ‘join the dots’ into a clear line on how it functions on multiple fronts through its own corporate governance.

Governance Watch - Issue 18

Governance Watch - Issue 18

Trust

'Trust' is a word we have heard a lot of in Britain since the 2008 financial crisis. It has been commonly uttered and muttered by senior names in business, analysed and spun by corporate governance experts, corporate communications, consultancies, think-tanks and politicians. It is well-established as a subject that commands attention, inspires conferences and events, and is an essential component of the relationship between business and society.

Governance Watch - Issue 17

Governance Watch - Issue 17

Audit and Regulation

The reprieve of KPMG, cleared of misconduct by the audit watchdog the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in relation to its work for the UK lender HBOS will not go unmarked. It is likely to take its toll in the ongoing battle for public trust in the financial services sector and in those responsible for its regulation. 

Governance Watch - Issue 15

Governance Watch - Issue 15

Pensions

All UK plc boardrooms should be watching carefully. Pensions keep coming up in the headlines and the stories rarely reflect well on the businesses concerned. They are increasingly being viewed as a corporate governance issue, and from there it is a small leap to reputation. 

Governance Watch - Issue 3

Governance Watch - Issue 3

Executive Pay

Surely they weren’t ‘burying the news’?

On Budget Day the loss-making Royal Bank of Scotland announced it had awarded bonuses in deferred shares amounting to almost £16 million to its top management team – just a little less than the £17.4 million that was awarded a year ago.