During his speech at the Institute’s annual dinner on Tuesday night, Wyman deflected criticism of the Higgs Report, calling it a ‘Magnus opus’ and a ‘fine achievement’.
Instead, Wyman argued that ‘the revised draft code that was published simultaneously with the report, be completely rewritten. I believe it is the way the code has been drafted, rather than the report itself, which has caused so much consternation. It is too prescriptive because it is rules based.’
Higgs has been attacked by many industry figures opposed to the boardroom changes suggested in his report. Many feel it will lead to simple box-ticking exercises and a possible reduction in the number of talented non-executives.
Wyman said that any changes to the Higgs report that are suggested by the Financial Reporting Council, through its consultation process, should be seen as a ‘positive improvement rather than some kind of defeat’. He also suggested that implementation of the code should be deferred until January 2004 in order to avoid widespread non-compliance due to companies not having sufficient time to make the changes.
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