New Corporate Governance Principles Proposed for Large Companies

The Financial Reporting Council has launched a consultation exercise over proposed new corporate governance principles for large private companies.

The Wates Corporate Governance Principles for Large Private Companies, which were named after James Wates CBE who chaired the Coalition Group that developed the principles, were produced following the publication of several reports highlighting the need for transparency and accountability in this area.

Large private companies will be encouraged to follow six principles to inform and develop their corporate governance practices and adopt them on an ‘apply and explain’ basis.

The six principles are:

  • Purpose – An effective board promotes the purpose of a company, and ensures that its values, strategy and culture align with that purpose.
  • Composition – Effective board composition requires an effective chair and a balance of skills, backgrounds, experience and knowledge, with individual directors having sufficient capacity to make a valuable contribution. The size of a board should be guided by the scale and complexity of the company.
  • Responsibilities – A board should have a clear understanding of its accountability and terms of reference. Its policies and procedures should support effective decision-making and independent challenge.
  • Opportunity and Risk – A board should promote the long-term success of the company by identifying opportunities to create and preserve value and establish oversight for the identification and mitigation of risk.
  • Remuneration – A board should promote executive remuneration structures aligned to sustainable long-term success of a company, taking into account pay and conditions elsewhere in the company.
  • Stakeholders – A board has a responsibility to oversee meaningful engagement with material stakeholders, including the workforce, and have regard to that discussion when taking decisions. The board has a responsibility to foster good relationships based on the company’s purpose.

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