Convergence in European Corporate Governance: The Audit Committee Concept
16 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2005
This paper analyses recent corporate governance codes issued by 20 countries for evidence of convergence in corporate governance systems in Europe. The analysis shows that there has been a degree of convergence towards an Anglo-Saxon model of corporate governance as the audit committee concept is widely accepted in countries with both unitary and two-tier governance systems. Further, the latest audit committee recommendations in countries that have issued several governance codes show a strengthening of the recommendations for an audit committee over time in line with the Anglo-Saxon audit committee concept and convergence with the debate in the US and UK on issues such as the independence and financial expertise of members. However, consistent with the literature on the convergence of European corporate governance systems, at an operational level there is limited consistency in the recommended structure and role of audit committees.
Keywords: corporate governance, convergence, Europe, audit committees, governance codes
JEL Classification: G34, G38, M41, M47, M49
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