Wates Principles on Corporate Governance
Wates Principles to improve corporate governance standards among private companies
10 December 2018: A new code for the corporate governance of large private companies has been launched, providing a framework to help them not only meet legal requirements but to promote long term success in this vital sector.
Recognising this, the Wates Principles encourage these companies to adopt a set of key behaviours to secure trust and confidence among stakeholders and benefit the economy and society in general.
These Principles are part of a number of changes made this year to the UK corporate governance framework. They have been developed by a coalition established by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and chaired by James Wates CBE. By explaining the application of these Principles large private companies will be able to meet their obligations under The Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018.
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I believe that good business, well done, is a force for good in society. The Wates Corporate Governance Principles are a tool for large private companies that helps them look themselves in the mirror, to see where they’ve done well, and where they can raise their corporate governance standards to a higher level. Good corporate governance is not about box-ticking It can only be achieved if companies think seriously about why they exist and how they deliver on their purpose then explain – in their own words – how they go about implementing the principles. That’s the sort of transparency that can build the trust of stakeholders and the general public.”
James Wates CBE, Chairman, Wates Group
The six principles are:
Purpose and Leadership – An effective board develops and promotes the purpose of a company and ensures that its values, strategy and culture align with that purpose.
Board 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.
Board Responsibilities – The board and individual directors should have a clear understanding of their accountability and responsibilities. The board’s policies and procedures should support effective decision-making and independent challenge.
Opportunity and Risk – A board should promote the long-term sustainable success of the company by identifying opportunities to create and preserve value and establishing oversight for the identification and mitigation of risks.
Remuneration – A board should promote executive remuneration structures aligned to the long-term sustainable success of a company, taking into account pay and conditions elsewhere in the company.
Stakeholder Relationships and Engagement – Directors should foster effective stakeholder relationships aligned to the company’s purpose. The board is responsible for overseeing meaningful engagement with stakeholders, including the workforce, and having regard to their views when taking decisions.
Reporting against these principles will take effect on 1 January 2019.
The FRC is pleased to be leading this work with James. Large private companies impact widely on society and play an important role in the UK economy. Through promoting positive corporate behaviours these principles have the potential to help restore trust in business and contribute to long-term sustainable growth in the UK economy.”
Stephen Haddrill, CEO, FRC
Download the full report here
More details on the application of the principles, supporting guidance and links to other sources and be found here: Financial Reporting Council
Wates Press Release, 30 Jan 2018: James Wates to head new industry group on governance reform.