The term “corporate governance” served as a form of kryptonite for several years in Wall Street circles, as the fast-moving, risk-taking culture found in huge financial institutions played a large role in the current recession from which we are slowly recovering. As publicly owned banks and investment firms were taking risks with shareholder-generated funds, shareholders were often left in the dark. Dating back to the seemingly halcyon days of Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, the functions of corporate governance have failed too many times over the past decade. Many CEO’s weren’t accountable to their boards and shareholders had little ability to affect change. There are some emerging signs of progress as regulators exert greater influence over corporate governance reform and executive compensation arrangements. How can investors better educate themselves and how can shareholders gain a greater and stronger voice?
Richard Ferlauto, Deputy Director of Office of Investor Education & Advocacy at the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)