Wednesday July 23, 2014

Public boards have multiple concerns with proxy advisory firms, study shows

Three-quarters of directors surveyed by BDO USA believe proxy advisory firms have a conflict of interest and should be subject to regulatory oversight.

MarketWatch cites BDO USA’s new survey of 72 corporate directors of public company boards, which found that three-quarters of those polled “believe proxy advisory firms that consult to public companies suffer from a conflict of interest and that these firms should be subject to regulatory oversight.” Meanwhile, 68 percent are opposed to U.S. and international regulators’ proposals for implementing mandatory rotation of the external audit relationship. When questioned about what topics they would like their board to spend more time addressing, 49 percent cited succession planning and 47 percent said risk management. Wendy Hambleton, a partner in the Corporate Governance Practice of BDO USA, comments, “The 2012 BDO Board Survey reveals broad optimism among boards regarding their ability to stay current on accounting and financial reporting standards, but also concerns with the plethora of disclosure requirements in financial statements and the lack of progress on moving to IFRS. The directors cite corruption/bribery as the greatest fraud risk facing their businesses.”

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