My final chapter perhaps. And my most important. I am taking up the mantle to facilitate a lively conversation around transparency. “Transparency” is the lifeblood of Labrador, and they have hired me – in an independent capacity – to further their mission. And in turn, I want to heed the siren I’ve heard throughout my career and serve as a champion for transparent disclosure.
What is “transparent disclosure?”
The first question you might have is: “What is ‘transparent’ disclosure anyway?” Providing education about what transparency means is a key part of serving as a champion – helping to define in our space what it means and what it doesn’t mean. So, part of my journey will be assisting in that endeavor.
I can tell you that for starters, transparency means something that is far more than plain English, and far more than disclosure advisory services. It’s about clearly communicating, through corporate disclosure, what companies want the public to know and what investors and other stakeholders care about the most.
And I can tell you that “transparency” doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to disclose everything. It doesn’t change the definition of “materiality.” It doesn’t change what the regulations require – and what they don’t require. More on all of this soon.
Over the span of my career, corporate disclosure has come a long way to becoming more transparent – partially prodded along by more extensive regulation, by the policies of proxy advisors and investors, and by better intentioned draftspeople.
But it’s time to take this all a step further by applying best practices and data analytics to establish transparency as the critical link that builds trust between companies and the end users of their corporate disclosures, the readers – to establish universal standards to build trust. Trust is good for business; it creates real value.
How will I be serving as a champion for transparent disclosure?
I hope to build interest in transparent disclosure in a number of ways. First is the educational piece, through this blog and in other forms of communication – practical guidance to help all of us become more familiar about how to build trust and transparency.
Second is by heading up a Transparency Scientific Committee, comprised of well-respected members of our field. People that believe in the mission, that will help set transparency standards, and apply them to the corporate disclosures to help evaluate the progress that we make.
Third is by overseeing the selection of winners of the annual “Transparency Awards.” The Transparency Awards have been a big deal in Europe for a number of years. CEOs attend that event. Senior members of institutional investors also attend. These European awards are also run by an independent scientific committee even though Labrador is the agency that came up with the idea.
The same concept applies here in the United States now. Just because the Transparency Awards are the brainchild of Labrador, that doesn’t mean that their clients will win all the awards. Labrador is a true believer in transparency and trust. That true belief extends to ensuring that the Transparency Awards is a completely independent phenomenon. I will see to that, and so will the other members of the Transparency Scientific Committee.
More to come soon in this blog as I drill down further into all of these propositions. Make sure you subscribe to this blog so you can get our regular entries pushed out to you by email. Not only will I be blogging about transparent disclosure, including the various criteria you can use to help you draft this type of disclosure, but I will also be providing a lot of practical guidance including:
- What are good examples of recent disclosure?
- What are the latest disclosure trends (i.e. what are we seeing)?
- What are the best ways to approach the drafting process?
- And much more about topics and challenges that we all commonly face but which are rarely addressed in the many newsletters and blogs out there.
Can you hear the excitement and the passion in my voice? I can barely contain my excitement. That is the truth. That is my truth.
Here is a short video where I portray the same message, so you can truly hear the passion in my voice: