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An international perspective on corporate governance

25 August 2017 by Henry Ker

An international perspective on corporate governance - Read more

There is much to be learned about our sector by looking abroad, says Henry Ker.

John Heaton, the new president of the UKRIAT Division of ICSA, says in his column that ‘in an increasingly fractured world, one thing on which almost all investors, governments and international communities agree is that good governance needs to be promoted’.

To that end, this month we look at governance from an international perspective. We have articles from governance experts in Zambia, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, while Panamanian Carlos Barsallo follows up his article from the March issue of Governance and Compliance on his country’s response to the Panama Papers.

ICSA past-president Frank Curtiss also offers an indepth analysis of the evolution of Japanese governance.

UK corporate governance is rightly lauded as a world leader, but we cannot be complacent and assume there is little to be learned from other jurisdictions. Many countries have to address complex challenges unique to their business environment, or have had to face acute economic difficulties or legacy issues not experienced here.

For example, Cyprus was more severely impacted by the financial crisis – as it tries to restore stability through reinforced governance standards, its story is both a valuable lesson and a salutary warning.

Elsewhere, our lead interview is with Matthew Taylor, who led the government review of modern working practices. He spoke to me about the importance of quality work, while refuting some of the negative perception of particular kinds of employment.

‘Sometimes people think a particular form of employment leads to a particular set of outcomes and I do not think that that is the case,’ he said.

‘There are good zero-hours contracts and there are exploitative zero-hours contracts. Gig employment works for a lot of people, but not so well for others. What matters for people is whether or not the organisation they work for … treats them fairly and decently.’

Henry Ker is editor of Governance and Compliance

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