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     Proposed governance related research topics: 

 

  • The link between diversity on governing bodies and performance                                                     
 
  • Governing body appointments process in the public sector
 
  • Effectiveness of chairs of governing bodies
 
  • Effectiveness of lead independents of governing bodies
 
  • Ideal governing body size
 
  • Is it possible for a small to middle size South African business (or even big entities) to comply with all applicable South African legislation?

 

The context to this is (i) the overwhelming number of acts that apply to businesses and (ii) the relationship between various pieces of legislation.

 

Regarding no (i)

 

(a)  In addition to the overwhelming number of acts that apply, some pieces of legislation are complex to understand, e.g. the tax related legislation.

 

(b)  Existing legislation keeps changing (e.g. recent changes to the NCA that has the effect that businesses that provide staff loans (even just 1) are required to register as “credit providers” and comply with legislation and recent changes to the Protected Disclosures Act).

 

Regarding no (ii):

 

Many of the newer acts provide that, in the event of a conflict with other legislation, the new act will apply. The consequence of this is two-fold:

 

(a)  That you may think that you are complying with a particular piece of legislation, while another piece of legislation (that you are not aware of) overrides the content of the act that you are looking at. An example is the provisions of the Companies Act, which requires that ALL documents must be kept for 7 years. In the event that other legislation prescribes a shorter retention period, the Companies Act will override this, but very few people would be aware of this interaction.

 

(b)  That it will be difficult to interpret legislation where both acts, that could potentially apply, have the provision that they override all other legislation.

 
  • The effect of auditor rotation/mandatory audit firm rotation on auditor independence and businesses

 

The IRBA has introduced mandatory audit firm rotation for purposes of strengthening auditor independence and thereby the quality of audits. However, I am not aware of any research done by the IRBA to determine whether

 

(1) Lack of auditor independence is a material factors in audit failures and (2) Whether that lack of independence is caused by the length of audit firm tenure (keeping in mind that there are requirements relating to audit partner rotation and that members of management typically changes every few years).

 

The aim would be to conduct a proper analysis of the assumptions on which mandatory audit firm rotation is based, as well as the likely impact of mandatory audit firm rotation on businesses, backed by research.

  • Duties and obligations for shareholders who appoint directors.

    Given the power and influence which directors have and given that directors are appointed by the shareholders, should there be duties and obligations imposed upon shareholders in relation to the appointment of directors?

    Shareholders are either passive or just leave it to other shareholders to appoint the directors and then complain bitterly when the directors do not discharge their duties properly and, in certain instances, institute action against them. If shareholder’s have such a right, then they should also have obligations to accompany such rights in my respectful opinion.
  • The correlation between adopting good corporate governance and the benefits to your business.

    Determine the correlation (if any) between an organisation's adoption of the King Codes of corporate governance and its performance". In other words, to what extent is the adoption of recognised codes of corporate governance good for business.

    Research could be done on 100 JSE listed companies as data will mostly be publicly available.

 

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