The role of stock exchanges in corporate governance

Author Name: 
OECD
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1. Introduction

The contribution of stock exchanges to improving standards of corporate governance in recent decades has been manifest. Through participation in developing national codes of corporate governance, by setting listing and maintenance requirements consistent with high standards of governance and through monitoring and disclosure of listed companies’ corporate governance arrangements, exchanges have been at the forefront of a process of raising standards. Many such efforts have effectively used the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance, and those that were developed independently nevertheless promote broadly similar notions of good practice. This point has been recognised by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), which at its General Assembly in Milan in October 2008 voted a statement of support of OECD’s contribution to the development of standards of corporate governance.

The OECD Steering Group on Corporate Governance (Box 1) recently commenced a project to look more closely at the role of stock exchanges in improving corporate governance. The purpose of the project is twofold, namely (1) to create a fuller understanding of the precise role of individual exchanges in raising corporate governance standards in the past; and (2) to examine the degree to which recent and ongoing structural changes in the exchange industry may influence, or even bring at risk, some of these achievements.

The first step was the preparation of a stocktaking report which was discussed at the Steering Group’s meeting in November 2008, with the participation of WFE’s Secretariat and released in May 2009. This article presents some of the main findings of the paper.[2] The paper focused on the experiences of Australian Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ market, NYSE, Euronext, LSE, Tokyo Stock Exchange, Toronto Stock Exchange, Six Swiss Exchange and Warsaw Stock Exchange. This selection of exchanges is further reflected in the article. 

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[1] The authors contributed this article in a personal capacity. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the OECD or the Organisation’s member countries.

[2] The full paper is still forthcoming. It will be made available at www.oecd.org/corporate.