Tag Archives | UK

Video Friday: UK Law Commission Clarifies Fiduciary Duty?

UK Law CommissionThe UK Law Commission’s final 2014 report and guidance on fiduciary duty:

The Review identified widespread concern about how fiduciary duties were interpreted in the context of investment.  In particular, some stakeholders felt:

  • it was not clear who in the investment chain was subject to fiduciary duties and what those duties were;
  • their fiduciary duties required them to maximise returns over a short-time scale, precluding consideration of long-term factors which might impact on company performance;
  • their obligations were entirely defined and limited to their contractual obligations or required no more than a duty of care.

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Women on Corporate Boards: Global Trends for Promoting Diversity

WomenOnBoardsWe last explored the topic of gender diversity on boards, in particular the underrepresentation of women on them, late in 2012, but much has happened globally on the subject since then. More companies have adopted regulation on the issue that range from “comply-or-explain” rules to quotas for the percentage of women on boards.

A 2014 Grant Thornton report, Women in Business: From Classroom to Boardroom, finds more leaders warming to a quota system, with 45% of international business leaders supporting quotas — up from 37% just a year ago.

Below is a brief summary of some of the most recent developments concerning women on boards. Continue Reading →

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Rise of Pseudo-Rights: Proxy Season Review

Paul Marsland photo

Paul Marsland

Guest Proxy Season Review:  Paul Marsland is a regular panelist and contributor to publications on corporate governance issues and has served in a number of senior roles at PIRC Ltd the UK based corporate governance consultancy most recently as Head of Policy.

Time to take stock of the proxy season. The proxy season means February in Seoul, October in Sydney, June in Tokyo and April in Paris so August seems as good a month as any for a review. Continue Reading →

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Review – The Nature of Corporate Governance: The Significance of National Cultural Identity

TheNatureofCorporateGovernanceThe Preface to this book is so powerful that I have to begin my review with the words of the authors, Janet Dine and Marios Koutsias.

The thesis of this book argues that national corporate governance is extremely important for societies. Recently many scholars have said that a convergence of corporate governance is inevitable. We believe that it is true but like Mark Twain said “the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” We show that although there is some convergence, national law of corporate governance is thriving. We also believe that it is necessary for the identity of each country. The reason that national diversity in corporate governance is still widespread is because of the history, philosophy and economy of each county as shown in its cultural heritage, and which it gives its identity. The cultural heritage in each state is identifiable in the company law and corporate governance codes. We consider that this is crucial for the well being of democratic nations. Convergence in corporate governance is a threat to ordered commercial regulations because of the power of the preeminent economic paradigm in the West which is the neo-liberal model. The neo-liberal agenda that predicates deregulation, privatisation and the liberalisation of markets is moulding many jurisdictions into an Anglo- American model of corporate governance which is dangerous for a number of reasons: Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: The Cadbury Archive

Cambridge0judge-logoThe Cadbury Archive at Cambridge Judge Business School has been completed with the addition of copies of all the speeches on corporate governance made by Sir Adrian Cadbury, Chairman of the UK Committee on the Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance. The Archive, established in 2010 and part of the Cambridge Corporate Governance Network (CCGN), is a major source for researchers into corporate governance. Continue Reading →

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Review & Reflections: The Cadbury Committee

TheCadburyCommitteeThe Committee was formed in 1991, the same year I read Power and Accountability: Restoring the Balances of Power Between Corporations and Society by Robert A.G. Monks and Nell Minow. I had spent years in academia searching for the perfect corporate form. I studied corporate systems around the world and headed California’s cooperative development program. It was obvious to me the dominant form of corporate governance in the US and UK needed improvement.

Monks and Minow brought confirmation from experts in the field. The appointment of the Committee on the Financial Aspects of Corporate Governance, better known as the Cadbury Committee, in May that year by the London Stock Exchange, the Financial Reporting Council, and the accountancy profession meant even those running the markets knew something was wrong. Real change was possible.

The Cadbury Committee: A History takes the reader back to those days to see how changes happened and why. Thankfully, Laura F. Spira and Judy Slinn took the initiative to document the Committee’s history while many members are still alive. Continue Reading →

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Review: Directors' Duties and Shareholder Litigation in the Wake of the Financial Crisis

DirectorsDutiesAndShareholderLitigationinthWakeoftheFinancialCrisis

Joan Loughrey

Joan Loughrey

This timely book, edited by Joan Loughrey, brings together academics and practitioners to assess the efficacy of directors’ duties, or lack thereof, regarding shareholder litigation in the wake of the financial crisis. Although primarily focused on the UK and the Companies Act of 2006, the part played by the US and its regulatory scheme is not ignored. Americans reading the book will benefit from a better understanding of the UK framework and how portions may or may not apply here.

For example, the UK Code of Corporate Governance makes boards responsible for determining the nature and extent of the risks that companies should undertake. Yet, even in the wake of extreme circumstances and huge financial losses, Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Brian Cheffins on Comparative Corporate Governance

Brian R. Cheffins

Brian R. Cheffins

In 2012 Cambridge University launched a Masters degree in Corporate Law (the MCL), which offers students the opportunity to engage in detailed study of the legal and regulatory framework within which companies are governed and financed.

The MCL, a full-time nine-month program, is taught by the Cambridge Law Faculty’s team of corporate lawyers, widely recognized as one of the strongest in the corporate law field. The MCL, the first entirely new degree in Law to be established by Cambridge University since the nineteenth century, has been designed to combine Continue Reading →

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CorpGov Tidbits

PLANSPONSOR.com reports, a provision in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget that pertains to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) could result in a disincentive for offering the plans.

The provision would eliminate Internal Revenue Code section 404(k), an incentive for ESOP creation and operation that permits a C corporation to deduct the value of dividends paid on ESOP stock passed through to employees in cash, deductions used to pay the ESOP acquisition loan, or when the employee reinvests in more company stock in his/her ESOP account balance. Continue Reading →

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Auto Enrollment for Retirement Savings Begins

Half of employers in the UK don’t offer a pension to their employees. Auto-enrolment, the opt-out defined-contribution system designed to fill this gap, was introduced in the UK on October 1. Top1000Funds.com interviewed Lawrence Churchill who chairs he government-funded pension fund, NEST, one of the funds on offer, during the first day of the rest of the fund’s life. (Feathering NEST, 10/10/2012) Continue Reading →

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