Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Had Sarbanes-Oxley preceded Enron they probably would have checked the boxes on that, too.

The title of this blog is a final remark in a highly intersting discussion between 3 leading FTSE-100 Financial Directora discussing the burden of CG. Taking part were Michael Queen, FD of 3i; Jonathan Symonds, CFO of AstraZeneca; and Ken Lever, FD of Tomkins.
Some other highlights of this excellent discussion are:
- I have no particular problem - being the director of a public company - that my remuneration should be disclosed for all the world to see, so that my friends and relatives can see, and so that all the shareholders can see. The issue I have a bit of a hang-up with is that we don't see disclosure of remuneration of fund managers, for instance, and we don't see the disclosure of remuneration of people in hedge funds or, indeed, private equity. Equally, we don't see the remuneration of partners of major accountancy firms and law firms. I am all for disclosure, and all for making sure people get paid a fair amount of money for a good job well done if it applies generally across everybody who is contributing to this value-creation process in our capitalist society.
- Your average punter, someone who has 500 quid in Marks & Spencer, is not going to look at the annual report and read it in great detail, but there will be people who will understand all 160 pages or 350 pages and actually make use of that information.
- Managing the performance of the organisation and delivering the value inherent within a business is more important than CG. I accept that balancing that with good governance is perfectly appropriate, but I think the scales have tilted.
Read the full article