Directors and Officers coverage has taken on a new priority, with high-ranking officers in public and privately-held corporations working under an unprecedented level of scrutiny.
A survey conducted by Allen & Overy and Willis in September 2014, titled ‘Directors’ liability – D&O: Blurring the lines,’ explored shareholder pressure, perceptions of public interest, heightened regulatory vigilance and a hostile enforcement and litigation environment: some of the forces that corporate leaders have to manage on a daily basis.
Francis Kean, executive director in Willis’ Financial and Executive Risks Practice (FINEX), shares his findings from the survey:
Directors can now be held personally liable in the U.K. for offences that include bribery, corruption and fraud; competition and antitrust matters; environmental law; health and safety; tax; international sanctions; money laundering; financial reporting requirements; the Dodd–Frank Act and other long-arm U.S. legislation.
Yet, there is still a lack of awareness of this among many directors and other senior officers.
Sixty-three per cent of them are unaware of the proposed expansion of the directors’ disqualification regime. The proposals, set out in a paper published by the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills titled Transparency & Trust: Enhancing the Transparency of U.K. Company Ownership and Increasing Trust in U.K. Business, will introduce ‘broader and more generic’ provisions in relation to the matters determining the unfitness of a director. The proposals will outline several factors that could be used to justify disqualification, covering misfeasance, breaches of duty, legislation and sector regulations. (continued.)