New index takes aim at corporate governance

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A new stock market service aimed at promoting better corporate governance will launch this week.

The indices, launched by FTSE, will allow investors the means to find out how well a company is meeting best practice targets.

Security experts have welcomed the new indices as an extra tool to help get information security further up the boardroom agenda.

"This could be a big stick with which to beat them [senior management] with," said Richard Starnes, president of the ISSA UK.

The indices will cover 23 countries including the US and UK and are being compiled with US governance consultant Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). All listed companies will be given a rating out of five on wide set of criteria, including boardroom pay, independence and integrity of the audit process and structure and independence of the board. The indexed companies that score highly in these ratings could form the basis of traded securities or unit trusts.

The new indices have been welcomed by the financial industry but Peter Montagnon, head of investor affairs at the Association of British Insurers (ABI) told the London Times that the indices could force companies to comply "in a box-ticking kind of way."

Our feature on compliance focuses on the positive benefits it can bring to an organization. (Read here)

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