The Return of the King Code: out for review

Two codes of corporate governance have ruled informed public companies in the last 15 years in South Africa – the King codes.

The third code was launched in Johannesburg last week for public review – you can view it here.

Some interesting points:

  • shareholders ought to approve remuneration, and an annual remuneration report needs to be published
  • the audit committee to be appointed by shareholders
  • a Chief Risk Officer to be mooted
  • Sustainability reporting should be an ongoing process
  • the majority of the board should be non-executive; the majority of that being independent.

I must observe with unjaundiced eye that South African companies, notably the blue-chips, do adhere to the King recommendations. As it is a widely used benchmark, it is expected to come across in the company’s annual report. No self-respecting company secretary could pretend not to know about King and the recommendations.

It seems some of the proposals in the draft review are to be found between what is happening in the developed world and the new South African Companies Act, also fermenting in legal and regulatory circles.

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