“ "For the first time, it will be possible to find out who owns what companies. Britain will be a world leader " ”
"We've given shareholders the tools to scrutinise boards and we've made a whole set of specific changes which together will help make business more transparent. If the current mechanisms don't work, we have a number of options. If we need to toughen things further, for example, we could make employee consultation on directors' pay obligatory."
Dr Cable was invited to speak at one of the Business School’s Hot Topic evening seminars, taking place on Thursday 3 July, about recently announced government policies to make companies more accountable to shareholders and the public.
The aims of the new policy are to increase investor and public confidence in business, leading to growth and improving confidence in the UK as an open and trusted place to invest and do business. Feeding into it, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills recently consulted on measures to help improve corporate transparency and strengthen director disqualification laws, to help honest entrepreneurs and investors do business securely in the UK.
The panel of experts speaking alongside Dr Cable were:
Dr Roger Barker, director of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, who spoke about the role of directors in building trust and public confidence;
Lizz Clarke, founder and managing director of Logical Creative Marketing, who talked about trust and accountability in the supply chain;
Amanda Hamilton Stanley, general counsel and director at Chivas Brothers Ltd and trustee of Allied Domecq pension fund at Pernod Ricard, who spoke about holding directors to account in an international setting;
Dr Lee Roach, senior lecturer in law at Portsmouth Business School, who talked about developing trust and accountability between investors and a board.
Dr Cable broke down the problems of lack of trust in business into four categories - trust in the banking sector, executive pay, 'short-termism', and small individual problems in business giving the rest a bad name - and discussed how Government was addressing each of these.
He also spoke about the importance of long-term thinking, explaining that although the government wanted to think long-term, and the many people people with pensions and investments also wanted and relied upon long-term thinking, the banking sector incentivised short-term gains.
You can listen to the the audio recording of the event here.
The Hot Topic seminars have been run by Portsmouth Business School for 12 years and are designed to raise and exchange ideas and views from different business perspectives. The seminars are free and open to all and help the Business School build relationships and exchange ideas with the regional business community.
Recent seminars have addressed innovation and efficiency, project leadership, performance management, maximising business value before exit, and how public policy can help Portsmouth’s economy grow.
Business in the Community has published a variety of resources to support business leaders in forming a new contract between business and society.