James Falla hears Jon Moulton call on companies to "resist regulatory creep" at the Guernsey Funds Forum 2018 in the latest in our series of blogs from the event

Jon Moulton, the Guernsey resident described as 'the public face of the private equity industry' used a platform at the Guernsey Funds Forum in London to hit out at ever-increasing demands of corporate governance.

Mr Moulton, founder of Better Capital and chairman of the broker FinnCap and Guernsey-based The International Stock Exchange, said his last FinnCap board meeting was “80% regulation” which he described as “obviously grotesquely excessive”.

Directors of FTSE 100 companies face a trade off between regulation and effective management, he said. “You cannot take a view that regulation is being looked after by others, you have to read and understand the lot, which is extremely demanding and probably something quite bad for the industries.”

He said companies should resist regulatory creep more strongly.

“Far too many companies simply take regulation without kicking back. Fund managers on the whole don’t engage in consultations – people whose interest is in greater regulation are the bulk of the people who reply to consultations, so it becomes a self-reinforcing process.

“It’s a mass of ever-expanding rules and constraints and longer and longer reports without any serious effort of measuring whether there is benefit from that activity. It is far from clear that there is benefit from many aspects of corporate governance.

“We need to adopt an evidence-based approach. Not what the compliance industry wants, more rules, it wants more things to come in and will keep shoving them in.

“It’s how they justify their existence, but they need to justify their existence it by proving the interventions they put forward are good for industry and good for the country.”

Would UK regulation get better outside the EU? “It can’t get a lot worse,” he said. “An excess of total regulation needs thinning out and greater understanding, and principles-based is a good start.”