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Chart of the Day: banks' poor corporate transparency

Barclays (BARC.L) is the lowest-ranking British company on a global index of transparency in corporate reporting.

 
Chart of the Day: banks' poor corporate transparency

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and a trio of China’s notoriously opaque state-owned banks lie at the bottom of a ranking of transparency in corporate reporting for the world’s 105 largest publicly listed multinational companies.

Financials in the index, most of which are banks including crisis-battling Barclays (BARC.L) – the lowest ranking British company on the index – and part state-owned Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) also rank poorly.

Financial companies' score for reporting on anti-corruption programmes averages 56%, compared with 68% overall; financials’ average organisational transparency measures 67%, compared with 72% overall; and their country-by-country reporting (how much financial data they disclose on operations in individual countries) comes in at just 2.3%, compared with the index average of 40%.

Banks' transparency: Click to enlarge

Transparency International, the anti-corruption campaign group which published the report, described the banks’ performance as ‘poor’.

HSBC (HSBA.L), which features near the top of the overall index – just behind Norwegian energy firm Statoil, Rio Tinto (RIO.L), BHP Billiton (BLT.L), ArcelorMittal and BG Group (BG.L) – appears to be a clear exception, alongside a few other higher-ranking banks.

‘The results of this research indicate that these players are not transparent in reporting on anticorruption programmes, organisational transparency or country-by-country reporting and should be playing a greater part in combating corruption,’ Transparency International’s report states.

‘Where voluntary or imposed regulation fails, investors and civil society must raise their voices and demand greater transparency.’

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