Voici un article publié par Lisa Andersson*, directrice de la recherche à Aktis et Stilpon Nestor, paru sur le site du Forum de Harvard Law School, qui brosse un portrait de l’évolution de la gouvernance des grandes institutions bancaires européennes au cours des dix années qui ont suivi la crise financière des 2008.
Je vous invite à prendre connaissance de ce document illustré d’infographies très éclairantes. J’ai reproduit, ci-dessous, l’introduction à l’article.
Si vous avez un intérêt pour la gouvernance dans le milieu bancaire, cet article est pour vous.
Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.
This summer marked the 10-year anniversary of the start of the global financial crisis. Over the 18 months following August 2007, several bank collapses in the United States, Germany and Britain, culminating with the demise of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 shook the financial system to its core. The interconnectivity of the world’s financial system meant that the repercussions would be felt globally, and on a monumental scale. The US Department of the Treasury has estimated that total household wealth would lose some $19.2 trillion following a publicly-funded government bailout program. Over the last decade governments, regulators, banks and their investors have revamped the financial system and its supervision in order to recover the public subsidy and prevent a similar crash from happening again.
In Europe, politicians and regulators at both the national and European level abandoned the path of deregulation and dramatically increased regulatory requirements and the scope of prudential supervision with an unparalleled focus on governance. The Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV) and the ensuing European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Central Bank (ECB) guidance implied stricter suitability reviews for board members and senior management, along with individual responsibility and in some cases criminal liability of non-executive directors (“NEDs”), as well as strict limits on variable remuneration. Higher regulatory requirements were compounded by the creation of a single supervisor for all systemic Eurozone banks. In many countries, especially the smaller ones, familiarity with supervisors usually allow a larger margin of forbearance and greater tolerance in assuming local sovereign risk. This has since disappeared. New rules and stricter oversight practices in the financial industry have translated into higher governance requirements and expectations for European banks’ boards of directors and senior management. So how do the boards and management committees of the top European banks measure up to their former selves? Data from the 25 largest listed banks  in Europe shows that boards today are smaller, work harder, and have a higher level of expertise than a decade ago.
While board sizes are getting smaller, the number of committees supporting the board has consistently grown over the years. This is in part driven by the mandatory separation of the audit and risk committee into two separate committees, but also by a general trend towards establishing more and more committees focusing on regulatory and compliance issues, as well as bank culture, conduct and reputation.
On average, 86% of board membership has been refreshed post-crisis. New board members brought with them greater independence, banking experience and general financial expertise among NEDs, as well as an improved gender balance on the board. In fact, women now comprise on average 34% of top European banks’ board membership, a development largely driven by national initiatives. Another significant change since 2007 is the fact that all the bank boards in the group now conduct regular assessments of the effectiveness of the board, a Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV) requirement. The disclosure of this process has also improved significantly, with 48% of banks now disclosing specific challenges identified and actions taken to address these.
The role of a bank NED has evolved post-crisis. With increased scrutiny, boards of financial institutions are now required to adopt a more hands-on approach, requiring a greater time-commitment by their non-executive directors. On average, the workload per director has increased by over 30% compared to pre-crisis levels.
In contrast to the board, the size of management committees has grown in recent years. The top management committee now tend to include more heads of functions, reflected by the increased presence of the Chief Risk Officer, Head of Compliance and Head of Legal. Despite the positive development of a better gender balance on the board of directors, the number of women on the highest management committee has not increased significantly over the last ten years. This may suggest that the “top-down” approach of board quotas adopted in many European countries might be less than effective in promoting gender equality.
*Lisa Andersson is Head of Research of Aktis and Stilpon Nestor is Managing Director and Senior Advisor at Nestor Advisors. This post is based on their recent Nestor Advisors/Aktis publication.