Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Labour looking beyond shareholder value?

There's a very interesting blog by the FT's political correspondent Kiran Stacey here. He picked up something at PMQs that no-one else seems to have - Ed Miliband apparently criticising shareholder value as an operational objective for companies (or SSE in his example), rather than an outcome of what they do.

In one sense there may not be much new here. Directors' duties as set out in the Companies Act already say they can have regard to considerations like employees, environment etc, though as part of a focus on long-term shareholder value. More broadly, John Kay has written eloquently about the way that successful business deliver shareholder value as an outcome by focusing on doing what they do as well as they can.

But maybe there is something there. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Fabians did some interesting polling on 'responsible capitalism' policies, one of which was broadening directors' duties to require attention to be paid to other stakeholder interests. I note that the idea didn't do too badly with the punters. Perhaps the re-energised debate on corporate governance going on within Labour is once again turning to stakeholder-ish ideas? 

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