BusinessCompany NewsKelly rejects Higgs criticism as ‘disturbing complacency’

Kelly rejects Higgs criticism as 'disturbing complacency'

Claims that the media debate on the Higgs Report was 'starting to lose a sense of porportion' have beenmade by Ruth Kelly, financial secretary to Treasury.

Link: Special Higgs report area

In a speech in Edinburgh to the annual investment conference of the National Association of pension funds Kelly defended the Higgs report after a barrage of criticism this week from UK boardrooms.

Her comments come after a CBI survey this week found an ‘overwhelming majority’ of FTSE 100 chairmen were opposed to recommendations made by Derek Higgs in his report published in January on the role and effectiveness of non-executive directors.

Kelly said the report was not an ‘intrusive rule book’ and critics has demonstrated ‘disturbing complacency’ for UK corporate governance. She claimed that the report was ‘seen in the context of Enron and its backwash’ and that it is more ‘about promoting shareholder value as it is about trying to prevent wrongdoing’.

Kelly also defended Derek Higg’s consultation process saying: ‘Derek consulted widely and sought comments on his proposals from the main representing bodies including the CBI’. She also made it clear that ‘the code is and should remain a statement of best practice’ and that the Financial Reporting Council is ‘hearing and listening carefully to all comments’ before it makes a final decision on the form of a new code on corporate governance.

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