On Dec. 6, 2005, Standard & Poor’s, BusinessWeek, and Harvard Law School’s Program on International Financial Systems (PIFS) joined to present a half-day symposium at the McGraw-Hill Companies auditorium in New York, focusing on key issues of corporate governance affecting companies, investors, and financial markets globally. With the ambitious title “Mandating Integrity and Transparency”.

Harvard Law School Professor and PIFS Director Hal Scott moderated the program in a Socratic-style panel discussion featuring a unique collection of international experts on corporate governance. These panelists represented a wide range of professional experience and accomplishment in areas including institutional investment, financial market regulation, corporate boards, corporate management, accounting, law, credit rating, journalism, and academia. In addition to this professional diversity, a key distinguishing feature of the panel was the range of different geographic perspectives, reflecting representation from the U.S., Japan, China, and from several countries in Europe.

The transcript of this event is presented in the Appendix and provides the foundation and basis of reference for this paper. Given the breadth of subjects discussed, as well as the size and diversity of the panel, the discussion did not cover each theme exhaustively. Nor were consensus views formed—or even attempted. However the panelists’ comments provide a wealth of informed insights into the complex issues that were discussed. If nothing else, the range of views expressed helps to explain why there are no simple answers to many important questions of global corporate governance.

The commentary that follows draws from the key themes of this symposium, and represents the authors’ (Hal Scott and George Dallas) own views and conclusions regarding the governance themes discussed at this conference. These comments do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the other panelists or the authors’ employers, Harvard Law School and Standard & Poor’s, respectively.