Who's Who Legal: Global Trends in Corporate Governance 2011

Posted By: Admin, 23 Jun, 2011 - 06:14 pm

The second edition of Who's Who Legal's annual report into corporate governance offers fascinating insight into the developments and conduct of investors, boards and shareholders over the past 12 months.

According to the report, entitled Research Trends & Conclusions: Corporate Governance 2011, following the financial crisis of 2008 international policy makers have adopted a more responsible approach to governance through the introduction of new regulations and legislation.

However, although there is evidence to suggest a healthy increase in the practice of corporate governance, the study also reveals the emphasis on compliance has generated more paperwork for lawyers, and rather than being far-reaching, changes have largely been superficial.

Although concerning, the findings are predictable. It's hardly a surprise that lawyers operating in a rules-based environment find they have a lot more work to do, especially during and after a global crisis.

However, if there are more rules to follow and every organisation claims to be trying their best to comply, it's vital that we are genuinely delivering best practice, rather than simply ensuring the cogs of the governance industry are well-oiled.

According to the report, there needs to be '...more focus on risk-management, decision-making by the right people and reliance on sound information.'

Additionally, the study adds that changes in the industry '...have not been revolutionary, but rather supplementary to pre-existing rules and laws that were previously improperly adhered to.'

This suggests corporations and policy makers are simply adhering to and implementing regulations they have previously ignored.

After reviewing the findings, it is clear that irrespective of whether you’re a lawyer or accountant operating out of the UK, Brazil or Australia, good governance is of primary importance for any policy maker seeking to attract investors and expand into new territories.

At present, this type of governance work is largely coordinated by mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyers, but eventually a variety of governance practitioners will emerge to help corporations and policy makers achieve their objectives.

As a result, it's essential we help to change the perception of governance as a rules-based and conformance industry so it reflects our focus on performance, not just numbers on a balance sheet, and ensures companies perform as best they can.

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