• Strategy
  • Monitor Group

So, Why Be Public?

This is a question more and more companies have been asking. Many of the traditional advantages of being public are no longer valid, and the mounting costs all the more obvious.

Recent legislation has continued down a path blazed in the New Deal era and, once again, for good reason. The SEC’s Regulation FD—for “fair disclosure”—put an end to major investors gaining preferential access to management. It banned private briefings on the firm’s performance and forced companies to share data, in the same form and at the same time, with all investors. That was a great step forward to making the market fairer. But, as is so often the case when righting a wrong, the opportunity for some new ill was inadvertently created. By eroding the role of larger, more sophisticated investors in corporate governance over a 50-year period, these regulations gradually eliminated an important check on misguided, incompetent, or crooked executives. This left the policing function to the representatives of the fragmented population, i.e., the board.

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