Wednesday, 14 April 2010

UK: election 2010 - the Lib Dem manifesto

The Liberal Democrats published their election manifesto today: see here (pdf). The manifesto pledges that the party will work at the European level for "stricter international regulation of financial services and banking". It also pledges to "break up the banks" by requiring the separation of retail banking and investment banking.

With regard to those banks in which the Government has invested through UK Financial Investments Ltd., the manifesto states that the "taxpayers’ representatives on the boards of the banks the public own or part-own should insist banks lend to viable businesses on fair terms again" but offers no detail on how this would be achieved.

With regard to corporate governance broadly defined, the manifesto states that public companies will be required "to declare in full all remunerations of £200,000 per year or more". This is somewhat vague. Does this mean that individuals' names will be disclosed or just the number of directors and employees earning £200,000 or more? The manifesto also contains these pledges:

We will restore a public interest test so that a broader range of factors than just competition can be considered by regulators when takeovers are proposed and we will ensure that the outcome of takeover bids is determined by the long-term shareholder base. We will reintroduce the Operating and Financial Review, dropped in November 2005, to ensure that directors’ social and environmental duties will have to be covered in company reporting".

Some questions: which shareholders constitute the long-term shareholder base? To which companies will the requirement to publish an OFR apply and what will the reprised OFR contain that is not currently required in the business review under Section 417 of the Companies Act (2006)? What is a social duty?

No comments: