What is Wrong With the Market for Corporate Governance Experts?

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    (Guest post from Andrew Clearfield, Corporate Governance Consultant )

    One of the things with the market for governance experts is that almost no one is willing to pay for real, forward-looking expertise, but especially over here in the U.S., the market is almost entirely dominated by a compliance mentality, which means, not ‘How do I improve it?’ or even, ‘How do I make my shareholders happier?” but, ‘What is the minimum I can get away with?

    The law firms monopolize the field, because boards would rather pay someone $800 an hour or more to wriggle out of trouble than $200 an hour or less to figure out how not to get into it. (Of course, lawyers are also adept in making sure that their services are seen as indispensable.)

    It is also remarkable how many corporate governance experts have suddenly emerged from the woodwork. Given how few were in the field only five years ago, I wonder how many of these people have real experience, and if so, where they got it. The problem is that there is no professional certification, and prospective employers don’t seem to have very clear criteria for what they should want. (Then again, if all you want is a compliance chief, there are probably quite a few of those around, especially with all the layoffs in the financial sector . . .)

    Thoughts, anyone?

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library’s topic All About Boards