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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Batting Better Than Goldman Sachs on Corporate Governance

Companies differ on how they handle personal and institutional conflicts of interest. This difference may reflect disagreement over whether a conflict of interest is inherently unethical, or whether one must be exploited for any conduct to be unethical. I take the former position: that to be in a conflict of interest is indeed inherently unethical. At the very least, being in a conflict of interest can trigger or spawn additional conflicts of interest. I point to Goldman Sachs’ response to an institutional stockholder’s corporate governance proposal as a case in point. That case can be contrasted with how the BATs board reacted in terms of corporate governance to bad public relations and a failed IPO.

The full essay is at Institutional Conflicts of Interest, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.