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Never have so few done so much damage to so many


So Who’s Accountable Now

You know what it’s like catching up with friends over Christmas and sharing thoughts about the world around us. Just last week as five of us enjoyed each others’ company ‘the plight of the shareholders’ emerged yet again.  Clearly the scars from this recession will be with us for some time yet, and for others, a lifetime.

We have heard about the crash and the amount of money wiped from the economy but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Can you image losing $400,000 from your $900,000 investment portfolio. Well that is bad enough but to receive letters that show no compassion or even a hint of concern for what the shareholders are feeling is heartless to say the least.

Opening a paragraph with words such as “as you know we are now in receivership” suggests the reader has been previously informed. But often this is not the case. Such poorly written letters received by my friend were the first she knew about the situation. After reading such communication a wave of fear and panic took over. One letter was bad enough but receiving a number of such ugly communiqués highlight the lack of companion and respect businesses have for their shareholders.

This dear friend found it hard to enjoy her Christmas dinner and the years ahead seem to already be painted with a pallet of dark colours. But who is accepting accountability for the shareholder loss – is this the leaky home syndrome being represented in new clothing? Everyone blaming the recession while the same board members continue to believe they performed well – even though they seemed to have failed in acting in the best interests of their shareholders – in others words, failed in carrying out their prime role – their fiduciary obligation to the shareholders.  

So are we going to see accountability – one of the key foundation stones of sound governance – disappear or be honoured.  I watch in interest now to see the changes at board level and, when I do, I will at least feel that some businesses understand their governance role.