The Bank and corporate governance: past, present and future

Quarterly Bulletin 1993 Q3
Published on 01 September 1993

By Jonathan Charkham, Chief Adviser in the Finance and Industry Area and an Adviser to the Governors

Jonathan Charkham retired from the Bank in June, after 11 years' service: first, as Chief Adviser in the Finance and Industry Area and then as an Adviser to the Governors. In this article, he looks back at his involvement in the debate over corporate governance, and presents a personal view.

The Bank can be described as being positioned uniquely between the City and industry and, through its widely accepted neutrality, is better placed, perhaps more than any, to investigate the reasons for the so-called 'divide' between the two and actively to promote understanding and the building of bridges. This involvement has taken many forms, including: a study of the supply of capital for business through the Bank's publication, with the City Communications Centre, of 'Money for Business'; the Bank's involvement in export finance policy and practice through close liaison with ECGD and Whitehall; the guardianship and practice of the 'London Approach'; a recent investigation into the availability of funds for financing an economic upturn; an exploration of the accusations that banks have overcharged small business customers; and extensive ongoing liaison with industrial contacts.

Corporate governance and the closely allied subject of corporate reporting are important ongoing examples of some of the issues which need to be addressed, and in which the Bank can make a substantial and valuable contribution. The Bank continues to exhibit a keen interest in the review of accounting standards and maintains observer status on the Financial Reporting Council. The Bank also supports the Takeover Panel, not least through the provision of a Bank. secondee. This paper briefly describes my own involvement within and outside the Bank in the debate on corporate governance and what I believe to be the issues for the next decade.

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