Richard Smerdon

ARGA legislation - will it ever happen?

Richard Smerdon looks at the lack of progress in introducing new legislation in the UK following on from recommendations of three independent reviews of audit in the UK.

Diana Wu David

Five trends for boards to watch

As the world turns to the next decade, what rising conversations will matter to they board community? Diana Wu David considers a few wide-ranging trends and key questions to consider around the board table.

David Nolan

Artificial Intelligence

David Nolan argues that it's critical in the age of AI that organisations are able to create cultures that encourage trust and responsibility and that this principal is embodied in their leadership.

Tracey Brady

Board diversity beyond the FTSE 350

Tracey Brady discusses the findings of a recent review carried out by the Company Matters team into board diversity in AIM and FTSE 100 small cap companies.

Pendragon Stuart

Governance in a glass box

‘Those that treat supply chain sustainability as an incremental compliance exercise will fail to take a stand and therefore find themselves with a shrinking pool of potential customers and investors as more people filter out brands that lack a clear story of positive impact.’

Murray Steele

How can non-execs be more effective?

‘We all have a natural way of talking and thinking, developed over many years, but to be effective, non-execs have to make an effort to conserve their contribution for when it really matters. It is not their place to demonstrate that they have a technical understanding of the issues being debated; they wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. It is their place to demonstrate the behavioural skills needed to get the board to be more effective.’

David Archer and Alex Cameron

Engaging boards with climate change

‘The consensus around our table was that non-execs have several very important roles to play in this, by: challenging their boards to develop appropriately ambitious CO2 reduction plans; scrutinising the delivery of those plans; using their networks to transfer good practice from one board to another; and communicating with the investor community.’ David Archer and Alex Cameron

Robert King


‘Overall, the business case for addressing sustainability is compelling – and companies can no longer afford to avoid embedding sustainability goals into their strategic thinking. ESG concerns have reached the boardrooms and are topping agendas. We are seeing this play out across all markets as businesses respond to increasing expectations among customers, shareholders, and civil society.’ Robert King

Jean-Claude Usunier

Intercultural business negotiations

‘This third view involves the development of ethical concerns and attitudes related to the situation, given the legality and the legitimacy of a particular action, but with the understanding that what is considered legal and legitimate can differ in the home and the host country. Let us call this “moral pragmatism.’

Patrick Dunne

What's the point of the board?

‘We have to have both the conviction to stick to our purpose and the antennae and good sense of judgement to know when to adapt it to ensure that we survive, to sustain success or to fulfil our organisation’s and our own potential. To conclude, it’s hard to have a board that is fit for purpose if you don’t know what the purpose is.’

Richard Smerdon

A different form of governance

‘Co-operatives such as Outlandish show that one can achieve the holy grail of marrying sound structures and processes with good behaviours and values, and thereby achieve good commercial, ethical outcomes for clients.’

John Lawrence

Governance in Latin America

‘However, closer study of the firms listed on the BVL suggests that as firms internationalise either for finance or to access markets, good governance is becoming integrated into the business model so that regional firms operating in Peru or large so-called trans-latinas have significantly better compliance.’

Shiv Taneja

No turning back now

‘We think this bodes very well, not just for the development of good fund governance principles more widely throughout organisations but also for the development of a strong pipeline of future fund board directors for whom transparency, value and governance are firmly entrenched in their day-to-day business practices.’

Aniel Mahabier


‘Ultimately, SRD II aims to prevent the mistakes made in the past. Governance and oversight are only possible if the information and data being used to make the judgements is full and accurate and is available at the same level of detail to all players equally. Knowledge therefore is key to ensuring accountability.’

Alison Gill

Women’s role in solving the productivity puzzle

‘Directors must consider which business metrics are most appropriate for identifying high performers and consider whether or not the ability to adhere to a traditional working pattern is the most important criteria at a time when productivity and the ability to innovate and generate results are becoming increasingly important.’

Gerry Brown

Shareholder ‘activism’

‘Yet, when we look beyond these snappy headlines, we find not only has the concept of shareholder activism been hi-jacked by a small cadre of extremely wealthy private equity investors with large shareholdings to leverage but, more worryingly, the idea of increased board accountability is often just a polite synonym to describe rampant often wild short-termism in investment decision making.’

Yin-Hua Yeh

The governance issues of business groups

‘In order to tip the balance towards better behaviour on the part of controlling shareholders at the group level, there exist a variety of legal and regulatory regimes that attempt to protect external shareholders from potential conflicts with the motivations driving the owners of the wider group as a whole.’

Richard Smerdon

The governance of sustainability

‘Dependency on short-term actions: the magnitude and nature of the future impacts will be determined by actions taken today, which thus need to follow a credible and forward-looking policy path. This includes actions by governments, central banks and supervisors, financial market participants, firms and households.’

Stephen Page

Is your board fit for the digital age?

‘For 30 years boards have viewed technology as an operational matter, best delegated. Now, in the digital age, society is different; business is different; risks are different. Does your board have the right conversations – and the right skills?’

Richard Smerdon

Corporate governance – a radical rethink

‘So, if we are really honest about it, the regulatory regime has failed, and the time has come to dismantle it and start again. The new start should concentrate on training in behaviours and values, and encouragement by shareholders and employees for companies to design the governance which works for them.’

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