Is the world waking up to shareholder power?

As readers will know – I’ve been recommending for years that shareholders should be given a statutory role to get more involved in companies’ activities. Prime Minister David Cameron and Business Secretary Vince Cable are now talking about making it a legal requirement for shareholders to have mandatory oversight on directors’ pay.

However the time it has taken for emergence of this level of interest in changing the free market model is frankly a disgrace. The prevailing idea that somehow allowing the status quo (on the basis that top talent would walk elsewhere) was blind stupidity. The so-called top talent is often nowhere near as good as the huge salaries that they command appear to state.

The reasons are fairly obvious – big corporate doesn’t have any binding requirements to engage with the wider community and the impersonality of size obscures the ground-level impacts of executive management behaviours. Only now are people beginning to make the connections between the free behaviours we have been brainwashed into seeing as acceptable.

The question for the moment is whether this awakening will spread to other areas of corporate activity. Shouldn’t there be greater oversight and wider stakeholder involvement in more than just executive pay? The Pension Funds have not done society a huge service to date by their silence in the arena of corporate governance and it would be useful to have rather more critical voices aired.

Time to push the Compleat Biz agenda a little harder – the politicians appear to be starting to listen.