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Corporate Governance – portrayed in the individual cultural and legal framework, from the standpoint of equity capital.

VIPsight is a dynamic photo archive, sorted by nations and dates, by and for those interested in CG from all over the world.

VIPsight offers, every month:
transparent and independent current information / comments / facts and figures on corporate governance locally and internationally,

  • written by local CG experts,
  • selected and structured by the Club of Florence,
  • financed by its initiator VIP and other sponsors with a background of “Equity and Advisory” interests.

VIPsight International

Article Index





No quota for women yet

In the 200 largest German companies just 3.2 percent of board positions are occupied by women. In the 100 largest companies, the share is only 2.2 per cent. Only four of 182 board positions in the largest German listed companies are held by women. A look at the supervisory-board side is also sobering: four supervisory bodies in the DAX get by without any women at all. On average, the proportion of women is 13.1 percent, but the women are mostly seconded as employee representatives. Female representatives on the capital side are usually members of the founding family. In an international comparison, women’s share in major German companies ranked on a par with India, and still well behind Brazil, China and Russia.

She wants to change this, stated Federal Minister of Labour Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), announcing a codified women’s quota in the news magazine Der Spiegel. The exact steps and the timeline she wanted to tie down this year. According to the Minister, the rate should be 25 to 30 percent and apply in less than five years to all German companies. Federal Minister for Family Affairs Kristina Schröder (CDU) also sees a need for action. She prefers a binding commitment by companies that each company can determine for itself and must then meet within two years. For two days a media battle raged, until the Chancellor laid down the law: she wants to give businesses more time to raise the percentage of women at a senior level voluntarily.


Many board members are underinsured

The statute of limitations for personal liability of managers was raised by the federal government, most recently to ten years. For all claims not barred by 15 December 2010, the new deadline now applies. The background to this is that financial institutions especially were thus to be given the possibility to work off the financial crisis legally. Current directors’ and officers’ (D & O) insurance for directors and supervisory and management officers of credit institutions as well as executives and supervisory board members of listed companies usually covers a period of five years only. The managers may now face damages they will have to pay for themselves. While some insurers have recently offered contracts with longer terms, with an insurance change there is the issue of secondary liability. For example, if an error committed in 2008 is only discovered in 2009 and the insurer was changed in 2015, then the insurer pays only when the follow-up liability period is ten years.


Bank levy with a surcharge

The bank levy is to create a 70-billion-euro restructuring fund in Germany, from which in future the rescue of banks in difficulties is to be financed. The charge is calculated by a complicated key as a fixed percentage of total assets, and was to be capped at fifteen percent of a bank’s HGB (Commercial Code) profits. But at the end of 2010 the Treasury submitted a paper laying down an arrears obligation. Here the banks are later to pay the difference between the amount payable and the fifteen-percent limit. This repayment obligation would undermine the acceptability of the fifteen percent limit, said the Federal Association of German Banks (BdB), criticizing the project. The regulation must still be approved by both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat.


EU flays cartels

At the end of the year competition sanctions imposed in the EU in 2010 totalled €3.05 billion. In 2011 there will probably be more, because the EU Commission’s success is increasing through whistleblower programmes and international cooperation of agencies. Since the programmes were introduced eight years ago and tightened again four years ago, dozens of cartels were cleaned up that would otherwise probably never have been discovered. The Commission is also relying more on settlements instead of sentences. This relieves the courts and saves time finding evidence that can stand up in court.