Changes must be made to bank governance, report finds

16 July 2009

Substantial changes must be made to the governance of banks and other financial organizations, a new report has concluded.

The Walker Review of banks in the UK suggested that improving the role of non-executives in the areas of risk and remuneration is one area that should be focused on.

Proposals included in the study include giving risk committees the power to scrutinize and block large transactions, forcing the chairman of a board to face annual re-election and increasing the level of public disclosure regarding the pay of high-level executives.

Sir David Walker, author of the report, stated that the financial crisis was made "much worse" due to failures in the governance processes in place at banks.

"Many boards inadequately understood the type and scale of risks they were running and failed to hold the executive to high standards of sustainable performance," he remarked.

A study by KPMG published earlier this month found that the complexity of banks' annual reports is increasing.

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