Both the Chairman and CEO of the banking behemoth HSBC have recently appeared before the Treasury Committee of the UK Parliament in connection with the Swiss Tax Scandal . The bank’s Board had previously issued an apology for the scandal to its shareholders and the public in general .
The argument made by the HSBC Board is basically “We didn’t know, how could we? We are a huge organization. It would not happen today”.
Ignorance is bliss.
The S& P saga rumbles on. Having been hammered by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January , S&P has received a knock-out blow, and a $1.375 billion fine, from the US Department of Justice and 20 State governments . And in what might the first of many private actions, S&P also reached a separate $125 million settlement with the huge pension fund California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CALPERS) .
What has received little publicity, however, are the implications of the S&P settlement with regard to Corporate Governance, in general, and Codes of Conduct in particular.