Tag Archive for ‘Disclosure’
Across the globe, the trend toward corporate governance reform continues in response to the global financial crisis and to the opening of markets in developing economies. But consultants for the executive search firm Spencer Stuart think some of that may be overdone. “Governance regulation plays a valuable role,” they write, “but those who elevate its standing to that of corporate savior are exaggerating its power.”
The authors of a new research paper say the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to permit corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence federal elections was premised on two yet-unfulfilled promises: Corporations would disclose their expenditures, and shareholders would be able to police such spending. Action by the SEC to require disclosure, they argue, might now “prove to be a favor” to businesses – and actually increase corporate valuations.
Columnist Gael O’Brien says the U.S. has failed to show leadership in gender diversity on corporate boards, raising questions about what it can learn from other countries that have imposed quotas for women directors. While quotas can stir up discomfort, she writes, there’s a “complacency, even smugness” about boardroom diversity in the U.S. that argues in favor of requiring companies to take action.
Reporter Jesse Eisinger suggests that Goldman Sachs’ announcement last week of a plan to increase transparency and disclosure does not resolve some big questions about the investment banks’ role in financial markets. “Could there be an argument that Goldman should break up into three smaller, more focused companies?” he asks. “It would be better for the financial system, and just might lead to the self-improvement that Goldman is searching for.”
The investment banking giant, seeking to repair damage to its reputation suffered in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, said its management and board had adopted and begun implementing 39 new policies and practices that represent a “fundamental re-commitment” by the firm to “reputational excellence” and increased transparency and disclosure.
A feisty debate over the safety of the widely used chemical triclosan has put Colgate-Palmolive at the center of a case study in product disclosure and corporate responsibility – one that may ultimately help outline how companies wading through a murky regulatory review and unsettled science should attend to their stakeholders and customers.
Mounting documentation on the extent of gender inequity has brought with it the attendant media attention that opens boardroom doors. As a result, writes columnist Gael O’Brien, the work of Nominating Committees has been moved into the public domain. Politicians, governments, investors, activist groups and others are saying things have to change.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, widely considered to be one of the most comprehensive reforms of the U.S. financial industry in years, was signed into law on Wednesday. While many provisions of the Act relate primarily to banks and the financial regulatory system, the new legislation will also have a significant impact on corporate governance and executive compensation practices for public companies in general.
The Center for Political Accountability, examining results of disclosure proposals for the 2010 annual meeting season, found that shareholder support for disclosure rose to a record 30.25% at 28 meetings.
A new report from The Corporate Library finds that while almost 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have at least one woman board member, there are far fewer women directors at smaller companies, and even at larger companies “women are typically a small minority and hold few positions of responsibility.”