The efficacy of government enforced corporate governance

Hosted by SWIFT

June 8 2015


  • Bob Monks

  • Paul Lee (Aberdeen Asset Management)

  • David Styles (Financial Reporting Council)

  • George Dallas (International Corporate Governance Network)

  • Shann Turnbull (International Institute for Self-Governance)


The UK is proud of its pioneering record in the field of corporate governance – from the 1992 Cadbury Code to the 2012 Stewardship Code. It also jealously guards the “comply or explain” tradition as a means of allowing justifiable exceptions and avoiding too much prescription in a diverse corporate field.

Yet no-one can have lived through the financial crisis, which exposed governance failings at many banks, or witnessed individual corporate scandals – with Tesco as the most recent – without wondering how effective all the regulation, codes and other guidance have been. Bob Monks has seen it all in his decades of fighting for shareholder rights and against corporate excess. We are delighted to have him on our panel.

Another of our speakers, Shann Turnbull, plans to throw down the gauntlet by pointing to problems that he says have been baked into the system by regulation. He cites conflicts of interest, such as boards hiring the auditors who are supposed to police them, and is critical of the UK’s “unitary” boards, where independent directors work with the top executives.

Our debate also coincides with popular soul-searching over the best ownership structure for companies. Does the fragmented public ownership of UK companies militate against good governance by committed owners of large stakes – founders, families – with intimate knowledge and a long-term view? Can you regulate diligent engagement into existence?

With corporate governance experts from the asset management industry and the Financial Reporting Council, we are sure to have a lively debate. Please come to hear the views of:

  • Robert AG (Bob) Monks, founder of Institutional Shareholder Services, Lens Governance Advisers and The Corporate Library, and author of several books on governance. He is also a pensions expert, appointed by President Reagan as a founding Trustee of the Federal Employees' Retirement System.
  • Shann Turnbull, principal of the International Institute for Self-Governance, was an early promoter of director education and integrity in governance in Australia. He has been an engineer, entrepreneur and fund manager, as well as academic and author.
  • George Dallas was appointed policy director at the International Corporate Governance Network last year, having chaired its business ethics committee. Previously, he served six years as director of corporate governance at F&C.
  • Paul Lee is head of corporate governance at Aberdeen Asset Management, which he joined last year from the National Association of Pension Funds. Prior to that, Paul spent more than a dozen years at Hermes, the fund manager.
  • David Styles is director of corporate governance at the Financial Reporting Council, which he joined from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He led policy implementation on directors' pay, shareholders' rights and corporate governance.