Principles for enhancing corporate governance - final document

October 2010

To address fundamental deficiencies in bank corporate governance that became apparent during the financial crisis, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has issued a final set of principles for enhancing sound corporate governance practices at banking organisations. Given the important financial intermediation role of banks in an economy, the public and the market have a high degree of sensitivity to any difficulties potentially arising from corporate governance shortcomings in banks. Corporate governance is thus of great relevance both to individual banking organisations and to the international financial system as a whole, and merits targeted supervisory guidance. The Committee's guidance assists banking supervisors and provides a reference point for promoting the adoption of sound corporate governance practices by banking organisations in their countries. The principles also serve as a reference point for the banks' own corporate governance efforts.

Drawing on the lessons learned during the crisis, the principles, which were first published for public comment in March 2010, set out best practices for banking organisations. Key areas of particular focus include: (1) the role of the board; (2) the qualifications and composition of the board; (3) the importance of an independent risk management function, including a chief risk officer or equivalent; (4) the importance of monitoring risks on an ongoing firm-wide and individual entity basis, (5) the board's oversight of the compensation systems; and (6) the board and senior management's understanding of the bank's operational structure and risks. The principles also emphasise the importance of supervisors regularly evaluating the bank's corporate governance policies and practices as well as its implementation of the Committee's principles.