Posted: 29 Sep 2011 12:03 AM PDT
Here is the full-text of Robert Monks keynote address at the 2011 Annual Conference of the International Corporate Governance Network.
This is a call to those responsible for the savings and dreams of hundreds of millions of trust beneficiaries. It is a call to you. Like all calls, it may not be welcome. This call may ask for more than you are comfortable giving. This call requires confrontation of powerful present realities. Many of you are affiliated with institutions having a whole spectrum of financial capabilities. Conflicting interests are a fact of life with conglomerate enterprises. This call demands that conflicts be resolved in favor of your beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries suffered unacceptably large losses during the recent financial crisis attributable in substantial measure to your failure, as owners and as trustees, effectively to protect their interest.
Employer-sponsored defined contribution plan assets in the USA fell 22%, which means absolute losses of 1 trillion US dollars, whereas the Mandatory Provident Fund system in Hong Kong has experienced losses of 30%. Other big institutional investors also have been forced to admit gigantic losses. The famous Harvard Endowment Funds lost 8 billion dollars or 22% of its assets. (As of this date, there has been some recovery of value in all the funds.)