Did anyone claim that "Enron couldn't happen in the UK"?
March 27, 2011 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Did anyone claim that "Enron couldn't happen in the UK"? I'm looking for actual examples of politicians/commentators/business leaders stating that an Enron-style collapse couldn't happen in the UK due to stronger corporate governance culture here than in the US.

In a recent discussion about Enron, I claimed that after the Enron collapse the general feeling in the UK was that a similar scandal couldn't happen here due to stronger existing corporate governance structures. But when asked for an example I was unable to think of a single person who actually said this. Was I imagining this reaction from the UK establishment, or did it actually happen? I've found a couple of articles which seem to back up my point, but which again don't give any examples. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
posted by jonnyploy to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Maybe you are thinking of an article stating that corporate governance has increased after Enron, Barings Bank, and Polly Peck? Something similar to this pdf report.
posted by Houstonian at 10:44 AM on March 27, 2011

I don't know of any exact example and I don't really recall any kind of consensus that this was the case (in fact, I'm guessing that if I took an informal poll, people would be of the opinion that it could happen), but googling brought up a few articles on it:

Financial Times

How Enron-proof is the UK?

The Corporate Governance Lessons of Enron (pdf)

The specific legislation relating to this is the Combined Code of Corporate Governance, specifically the Smith and Higgs reports, both of which came about as a direct result of Enron and other scandals.
posted by triggerfinger at 3:39 PM on March 27, 2011

There's this Guardian article from Feb 2002 - "the consensus is is that Enron couldn't happen here, yet Britain is not immune to accounting irregularities" - and an Observer article from July 2002, saying "After months of soothing words from politicians that Enron 'couldn't happen here' ... Patricia Hewitt ... changed her tune".
posted by paduasoy at 4:47 PM on March 27, 2011

Sorry, just realised those may have been the articles you'd found. You could also try searching in Hansard. There are 373 references to Enron in 2002 - the first few pages, wch are all I looked at, mostly seem to imply that people did think it could happen here. For example, Lord Brennan, March 2002 -
In response to the question, "Could it happen here?", Sir Howard Davies, chairman of the Financial Services Authority, in an article in the Guardian on 2nd February, frankly stated:

"The only honest answer is yes".

How could it happen here? The Government, very sensibly, are intent on investigating ...
posted by paduasoy at 4:53 PM on March 27, 2011

« Older Have I killed my car?   |   Fuelly for the prospective cyclist Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.