Global Governance Regulatory Round-up

Governance codes around the world

Taiwan

Corporate Governance Best-Practice Principles update

In response to the latest G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, Taiwan has updated its Corporate Governance Best-Practice Principles for companies listed on its stock exchanges.

Key changes include allowing investor engagment; creation of a company secretary position to handle corporate governance matters; electronic voting; eliminating cross-border voting barriers and shareholder meeting information to be published in both Chinese and English.

Netherlands

Code for unitary boards set for year-end release

The Monitoring Committee of the Dutch corporate governance code has announced that following a consultation a revised corporate governance code will be published which applies to the growing number of Dutch companies that are adopting a single-tier board structure.

When the revised Corporate Governance Code is published, the committee will also publish the consultation responses it received on its proposals. Publication of the final code is expected to take place before the end of 2016.

UK

Narative reporting is improving says FRC

The introduction of the strategic report has improved the quality of narrative reporting according to the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC). However, its Annual Review of Corporate Reporting calls for companies to be more balanced in their reporting of their performance. Key items flagged by the FRC were: failure to acknowledge when things have not gone so well; excessive use of underlying profit figures; or inappropriate use of alternative performance measures (APMs). The FRC is concerned that these disclosures erode trust and undermine the quality of corporate reporting.

Of the 192 companies whose reports were reviewed for the report, the FRC raised queries with approximately one third. Most companies concerned have agreed action to resolve the matters satisfactorily, primarily through their future reporting, the FRC said.

USA

Audit failures – fines and fees mount

Ernst & Young agreed to pay more than $11.8 million to settle charges related to failed audits of oil services company Weatherford International, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced.

The SEC said Ernst & Young’s payment will be combined with the $140 million penalty agreed to last month by the audit client, Weatherford International. Additionally, money collected from two charged Weatherford employees –  more than $152 million  – will be returned to investors who were harmed by the accounting fraud.

Nigeria

Governance Code comes into effect 

The Nigerian National Code of Corporate Governance 2016 sponsored by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) has become effective. The Code comes in three parts, which are, Code of Corporate Governance for the Private Sector, Code of Governance for Not-for-Profit entities and the Code of Governance for the Public Sector. They all collectively combine to form “National Code of Corporate Governance 2016”  

South Africa

King IV Launch

The IoD of South Africa will be launching King IV at a major conference on November 1st. According to the IoD, the event is now fully-booked and a wait list is now in operation.

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