Changes to UK immigration rules are expected to give greater flexibility to business visitors and companies sponsoring international migrants. Corporate Governance Report interviews international migration expert Sophie Barrett-Brown from Laura Devine Solicitors about how immigration law changes could impact UK businesses.
Immigrants to the UK have received a rush of negative press, confounded by low public support. But how valuable are immigrants to UK corporations, and how easy are they to employ? Corporate Governance Report interviews Sophie Barrett-Brown from Laura Devine Solicitors about the laws and regulations in place to govern international migration.
Corporate governance is a major issue when it comes to Asia’s real estate industry. It has become increasingly important for companies operating within the sector to monitor and refine their processes, to reduce the chances of corruption and fraud, and maintain the trust of stakeholders. Corporate Governance Report spoke to Arthur Lang, CFO of CapitaLand – one of Asia’s largest real estate companies – to find out about their culture of compliance, and the challenges they face expanding their services in developing countries.
New research suggests that shareholder empowerment in the banking industry might have contributed to the weakening of banks prior to the crisis, and eventually affected their ability to weather the storm. One of the authors of the report ‘Shareholder Empowerment and Bank Bailouts’, Dr. Tom Kirchmaier of the Manchester Business School and the London School of Economics, speaks to Rita Lobo.
Diversity in the corporate governance environment has been the subject of much discussion over the years, with most governance institutions agreeing that boardrooms should reconsider the demographics of those sitting around the table. In an update to his 2011 report, Lord Davies recently reiterated a recommendation that all FTSE 100 boards should aim for at least 15 percent female participation by 2015. Melanie Wadsworth, partner at Faegre Baker Daniels, talks to Michael McCaw about the issues she has identified with the recommendations.
Companies are increasingly outsourcing their corporate responsibility activities to independent foundations. Amanda Jordan OBE, founder of consultancy firm Corporate Citizenship, is with Jules Gray to discuss the growth in popularity of corporate foundations in the UK in recent years.
Good Corporate Governance is vital for companies of any shape and size but the needs and requirements of each company are very unique. The Quoted Companies Alliance has just released a best practice guide for smaller and medium sized companies. Tim Ward, CEO of The Quoted Companies Alliance, talks to Rita Lobo about the code, the key principles, and the value of good corporate governance for smaller companies.
Both mandatory and discretionary, auditing comes in many guises
A necessary undertaking for public companies, an integrated audit entails the auditing of both financial statements and internal control over financial reporting. Necessarily conducted by an external auditor, integrated audits are advantageous in that they encourage a holistic approach to the internal auditing process.
Conducted by either an asset manager or an outside firm, a performance audit verifies performance figures with those demonstrated to the public. Beneficial in that a performance audit allows an accurate insight into a firm’s returns.
Quality audits entail the systematic examination of a quality system, undertaken by either an internal or external quality auditor. Quality audits are integral in determining compliance with a defined quality system process and are a necessary requirement in maintaining the ISO quality system standard.
Regular health check audits are carried out for purposes in understanding the present state of a specific project. Primarily conducted by an independent party, regular health checks are intended to further increase productivity or otherwise effectiveness.
Energy audits consist of an inspection, survey and analysis of energy consumption. Largely intended for the bettering of energy conservation, input is often sought to be reduced though without the hindering of subsequent output. Energy audits are largely meant for reducing overheads.
Otherwise termed financial, regulatory audits are intended for assessing the legality of processes pertaining to financial operations. Encompassing management, collections and expenditure, regulatory audits seek to determine a true and fair representation of policy and financial management.
Research has shown that companies giving back to the communities in which they work tend to enjoy better long-term results
An organisation famed for valuing innovation and entrepreneurship, IBM helps its employees to give back to the community in the way they best see fit. IBM distributes Activity Kits, each one designed around different volunteering opportunities. For those who want to use their expertise to help educate others, there are kits advising on how to conduct workshops for adults who want to get into the industries IBM operates in. Employees wanting to inspire future generation can use kits to engage children in workshops that see students make anything from paper dog houses to solar-powered model cars. Or those who prefer a more hands-on approach they can volunteer to help in disaster zones.
According to Henry Ford, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”. This inspired Ford’s Accelerated Action Day in 2012, which saw more than 600 employees in American branches step away from their desks to work in local community projects, supported by various charities. Volunteers were dispatched to shelters, schools and family centres, helping to clean, paint and build in their on-going renovation missions. Projects included renovating shelter rooms for the Salvation Army’s centre in Detroit, building houses with Habitat for Humanity and creating therapy rooms for children with the First Step Domestic Violence Program.
JP Morgan engages in many community projects globally, but recent years have seen emphasise focused on improving education on both sides of the Atlantic. Last year they helped to fund Achieve Together, a drive to recruit and inspire good teachers in disadvantaged areas of the UK. The first phase of the programme will roll out later this year, estimating to help 8,000 pupils. 2010 saw the firm launch a $325m initiative to support publically-funded schools in the US. The company granted $50m to community-development financial institutions to support new schools, as well as helping to tackle the financial problems of schools that already have a strong academic track record to keep them afloat.
5by20 is Coca-Cola’s initiative to empower five million female entrepreneurs worldwide by 2020. The multinational aims to focus its efforts on the small businesses across the world, currently focusing on Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines and India, by providing training with financial resources and mentors to women looking to get ahead in business. Since launching the program in 2010, Coca-Cola claim to have economically enabled more than 131,000 women. As part of the program, a new initiative in Kenya has helped female farmers grow mangoes for locally sold fruit juices, which has in turn helped create sustainable livelihoods around the farms.
As part of Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tears brand’s 50th anniversary, its Clean Water Initiative was launched as a combined effort with non-profit charity Water for People. Operating under the slogan “Because every baby deserves clean water”, the program has aided small, rural communities in ten of world’s poorest countries, including Malawi and West Bengal to tackle water contamination. The charity not only educates communities but also installs sanitation facilities in schools to provide clean water to hundreds of thousands of children.
Some of the leading reportage in corporate governance
The presence of clutter in an annual report actively detracts from its usefulness to both shareholder and investor alike
The results of the first-ever ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard have been released, in an effort to establish greater international visibility
Australia’s securities regulator is set to launch a probe of the country’s biggest mining companies in a bid to crack down on selective briefings
Organisations are seeking to correct past workplace models, taking stock and embarking upon a new age of responsibility. Here, the Corporate Governance Report celebrates those firms carrying the governance torch
The US Federal Reserve is strongly encouraging banks to consider their internal auditing strategies to avoid regulatory intervention
Airbus owner signals change in strategy that may benefit shareholders
As the legal industry continues to boom, it’s becoming ever more challenging for firms to choose where to seek council. Corporate Governance Report spoke to World Finance Editor Alexander Redcliffe about the magazine’s legal awards
US courts find arbitration agreements signed by employees are ‘unconscionable’
Sime Darby’s self-governing model allows it to stay focused and nimble
The world’s top jobs command the world’s top remunerations, so long as they’re well earned