Nationwide – The Lowest Standards of Corporate Governance

August 2018 – The BSMA has endeavoured, for a period of eighteen months, to obtain a copy of the Nationwide Building Society’s submission in response to the Government’s Green Paper public consultation on CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REFORM.  The society has repeatedly refused to provide a copy stating that the document is “private”!

This is unbelievable bearing in mind the very frequent claims made by the directors of “openness, honesty and transparency” and the subject matter of the consultation.

However following a Freedom of Information request to the government department concerned, the document is now available here:

Nationwide Building Society’s Response to the Corporate Governance Green Paper

If you read this you will understand their reluctance for members and staff to see what they wrote.

It is a very cunning, crafty, devious and extremely lengthy piece of anti-mutual propaganda that is very economical with the truth.  Much of it has nothing to do with corporate governance. However it no doubt achieved its aim, which was to keep the status quo and maintain the low standards of corporate governance in the industry.

Needless to say there is no mention of their skewed, biased and undemocratic voting system that they are so proud of.  They carefully avoided mentioning the fact that members are legally entitled to stand for election to the board and legally entitled to submit resolutions.  There is also no mention of the fact that they vigorously oppose any attempts by members to do so and are therefore vigorously opposed to the legislation that permits it.  Obviously they are opposed to staff and members as board members.  They even suggest that they would like other industries to follow their extremely low standard methods.

The directors use plcs as comparators for their own pay levels rather than mutual societies even though the demands of building societies do not compare with those of listed companies such as banks.  But of course this does maximise pay all round in the boardroom.

The directors state that any corporate governance reforms should be on a voluntary basis but they are not volunteering any reforms whatsoever.

The omissions in this document are testament to, not only the extremely poor standards of corporate governance, but also the cunning and deceitfulness that exist in the boardroom of this organisation and the crafty and devious thought processes of these people who claim to be exemplars of propriety.

At least one sentence in the document is true which states – “We believe that if the interests of any one group is allowed to dominate, other stakeholders, and society more generally, suffer.”  AND WHO IS IT THAT DOMINATES?

Nationwide – Owned by the directors, run by the directors for the benefit of the directors.