Nationwide – The Very Secret Society

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.  Even a reason for the refusal was refused.

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

We can 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 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 the undemocratic voting system that they are so proud of. They carefully avoided mentioning the theoretical fact that members can stand for election to the board and submit resolutions.  There is also no mention of the fact that they vigorously oppose any attempts by members to do so and are therefore 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 low standard methods.

Plcs are used as comparators for boardroom pay levels rather than mutual societies even though the demands do not compare.  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.

At least one sentence in the document is true – “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?