Tough self-questioning in Dublin

Whilst the future shape of shareholder engagement responsibility is debated in London, Brussels and across continental Europe, the debate in Dublin is a fierce as anywhere.

In what is traditionally a very close-knit investment and business community, the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) and the Deputy Prime Minister participated in a full and frank exchange of views on the corporate governance dynamics of the financial crisis in Ireland at the ISE last Friday.

Whilst ISE Deputy CEO Derdre Somers referred to the responsibility of investors to drive improvements in corporate governance standards and disclosure, ISE Chairman Padraic O’Connor said the irish government should “lead by example” with governance arrangements at public sector companies.

Despite Tánaiste Mary Coughlan citing 15 changes to the Companies Act since 1963 as evidence that irish public policy was far from light touch, Fine Gael enterprise spokesman Leo Varadgar believes new laws restricting CEO transition to Chair and the cross-directorships between financial institutions and state bodies are needed.

On a more positive note, Varadgar underlined that now is an ideal time for Ireland to take an exemplary lead on governance in the context of an international financial community which has been come in for sustained reputational damage.

The role of international institutional investors in restoring confidence local markets is also going to be a key question in the Irish context, just as it is in London. Those investors that do so in the case of the Irish market will do well to understand these lively local dynamics.


Links

Ireland ‘must learn from failures’ >>

Irish Times, Friday 29th January

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