BEIS

Response to Market Study on Statutory Audit Services

Response to Initial Consultation on Recommendations by the Competition and Markets Authority Peter Parry and Cliff Weight have written a joint response on behalf of the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA) and the UK Individual Shareholders’ Society (ShareSoc). This has been submitted to the CMA. We made these key points: There are a few important and overarching issues which we believe need to be stated: Limitations of the CMA’s remit; the CMA was tasked with looking at the audit market and, in particular, considering ...

Progress at Last! Review of Intermediated Securities

As members of ShareSoc will know, our Shareholder Rights Campaign is one of our most important activities. The current difficulty of contacting shareholders whose shares are held in nominee accounts, and the difficulty many such shareholders have in voting, is a severe impediment to driving necessary change. This is a particular problem with smallcap companies. In other words, without improved shareholder rights, it is difficult for any other campaigns directed at problem companies to succeed. Less scrupulous directors know this and feel ...

UKSA-ShareSoc joint response to Brydon Review of Audit

UKSA-ShareSoc submitted a joint response to the Brydon REVIEW INTO THE QUALITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF AUDIT  We said a fresh approach was needed. Many of the questions in the Review overtly or implicitly prompt debate about how the external audit can be made more robust and more relevant in future. Underlying this is a requirement to find ways of making auditors more accountable to those they are meant to be serving – namely the shareholders. Our view is that this cannot be achieved ...

Response to BEIS on the FRC Kingman proposals

In a detailed joint ShareSoc-UKSA 12-page Response to BEIS on the FRC Kingman proposals, we said we support the general thrust of the Kingman proposals. Kingman is proposing a new authority to replace the FRC. We also made some more general points: Sound financial reporting is a basic prerequisite for good stewardship. However, no matter how good the financial reporting is, if a significant proportion of investors are disenfranchised and unable to make their voice heard, many of the benefits of better financial reporting will ...

Changes Proposed at Companies House

The Government BEIS Department have recently proposed a number of important changes to the way Companies House operates in a public consultation entitled “Corporate Transparency and Register Reform” (see https://tinyurl.com/yysf9gdn ). Here’s a brief summary of the main points: This consultation will be of interest to anyone who is a director of a private or a public company, or a major shareholder in such a company (i.e. those People with Significant Control). Even directors of the smallest companies could be affected. A major ...

The Unstoppable Glacier of Government’s Concerted Actions?

By Cliff Weight, Director, ShareSoc We sometimes see things changing at a glacier-like pace. But once a glacier starts moving it has huge momentum and is unstoppable. My question is: is this metaphor applicable to the way Government is behaving with regard to business? The civil servants who drive Government policy transcend the short lives of Parliament. Taking this perspective what do we see? My take on this is as follows. The Financial Crisis terrified nearly everyone. We stared into the abyss. We were ...

Auditor appointments: ShareSoc+UKSA write to Minister Greg Clark

Today 18 Feb 2019, ShareSoc & UKSA have written to The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We made three key points: Appointment of auditors by a third party with the relevant skills and expertise would, once and for all, break the current link of excessive dependency between auditors and those they audit. If, on a trial basis, the Regulator started by managing the appointment of auditors for FTSE 100 companies this would ...

The Quindell Story and the FRC

5 years on and the FRC has fined KPMG for its performance over Quindell. It has taken far too long. The settlement received a huge amount of coverage in the press, e.g. https://www.ft.com/content/e8ce1a30-6d3d-11e8-852d-d8b934ff5ffa The FRC's official announcement can be found here: https://www.frc.org.uk/news/june-2018/sanctions-in-relation-to-the-audit-of-quindell-plc The KPMG fine of £3.15 million is derisory. It is absurd when compared with the (£2bn) shareholder losses as a result of being misled by the accounts. The average KPMG partner was paid £519k in 2018, and many were paid more. To ...

BEIS Consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance

We have submitted jointly with the UK Shareholders Association our response to the consultation on Insolvency and Corporate Governance. The response was written by  Cliff Weight - Director, UK Individual Shareholders Society (ShareSoc) and Peter Parry - Policy Director, UK Shareholders' Association. Click here to read it.

Hard Hitting BEIS Report on Corporate Governance and Pay

The BEIS Commons Select Committee have today published a strongly worded report on Corporate Governance after its recent hearings on the subject. Here are some of the key points they make: They agree with the Prime Minister that high levels of executive pay need to be tackled "for the benefit of society as a whole". They forcefully recommend that Long Term Incentive Plans (LTIPs) should be abolished as soon as possible because they create perverse incentives and are often a way to ...