CLERP 9: New rules for an old game

Sunday, 01 August 2004


    The corporate regulation season finished with a whimper rather than a bang when compromise and a desire to go on winter holidays finally saw the CLERP 9 legislation passed in the dying moments of Parliament.

    The new corporate regulation regime is a tremendous boost for lawyers, accountants, advisers, consultants and anyone able to squeeze a living out of the ever-growing commercial space called the corporate governance advice industry. Unfortunately, Australian boards and directors from the top end to struggling SMEs will all have to use shareholder funds in one form or another to pay for the compliance of yet more rules. It will surprise no one that, sooner rather than later, some bright spark will try to put together a business plan, a prospectus and an initial public offering for a company that does nothing else but offer corporate governance advice and/or has a new software program that takes the pain out of ticking corporate governance regulation compliance boxes.

    Yet no one is bold enough to say that CLERP 9 or any other corporate governance rules or principles has made the business world any safer for shareholders.

    And, while corporate governance has given birth to a new industry, boards and directors will need to be on the front foot to deal with it. - John Arbouw


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