Apple, Google and Amazon sneakier than BANKERS and OIL FIRMS
Transparency survey fail for web stars
Internet superstars score far lower than banks or oil companies on a measure of corporate governance released this week by an NGO funded by the UK.
The report from Transparency International ranks the cream of Silicon Valley - Google and Apple, along with Amazon.com - at the bottom of a survey of 106 global companies. Amazon came in at No 100, Google at No 96, Apple at No 92 and Microsoft at No 86 – one place ahead of Cisco Systems.
Statoil was judged to be the "most transparent" of all companies examined, followed by mining giant Rio Tinto. Mobile operators Vodafone Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom also fared quite well. Tech stalwarts IBM and Hewlett-Packard came out with middling rankings. Two Chinese banks vie for last place, ahead of the Honda car company and Warren Buffet's sprawling soup-to-nuts conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway.
The NGO has a set of criteria judging the firms for their "anti-corruption" programmes, as well as the amount of operating information they disclose. So, for example, if a corporation breaks outs its financials, and details its subsidiaries for a particular country, it picks up points.
Transparency International had a budget of €21m in 2011, €19.9m of which was grants from governments, the largest contribution being a €4m bung from the United Kingdom – which is obviously not as cash-strapped as we all thought.
You can peruse the results at your leisure, here. ®
"Transparency is probably only important if you work there or want to buy their shares"
Actually in neither case. If you work there, then total transparency is a hindrance to competition (admittedly things may be different if you're a slave in a sweat shop but note that the slaves in sweat shops usually are working for supplier companies, not the lead brand. As an investor, results count, not how much guff the company publishes - hence Berkshire Hathaway score poorly, but has been an excellent investment for many years.
The people to whom transparency counts are those trying to influence corporate behaviour, like Transparency International and NGO's.
Look for the UK funding to be cut off
If they are dissing the sacred Google...
Transparency does matter for investors as well as results - it's handy to be able to see if you are investing in a potential Bernie Madoff before it happens. Transparency can help. I see no real reason why Buffett's group should score poorly given he is normally all over corporate good governance - not practising what he preaches perhaps?