Minding the Minder Initiative
I just returned from a business trip from Switzerland—one of the world’s most beautiful countries. It’s people; culture, scenery and cuisine are some of the finest around. It is very hard for me to ever not have an enjoyable time while visiting.
But when it comes to executive pay—they are the only country I know that makes making the wrong call by a board, a criminal offense that includes prison time. The popular initiative "against rip-off salaries" was approved by a majority of voters a few years ago. Prison sentences of up to three years and fines of up to six times the amount of annual remuneration are provided for in the event that a member of the board of directors, the executive management, or the advisory board pays out or receives prohibited forms of compensation.
Mind you, I am not a big fan of Dodd-Frank here in the United States, but this Minder ruling in Switzerland is so much worse –on multiple fronts. Several companies decided to leave and I am sure it has hurt Switzerland’s ability to bring companies in. Companies that create jobs, pay taxes, support the arts and enhance the standard of living for all involved—and like I said, Switzerland is one amazingly beautiful country. However, for as much as I have read about the Swiss and their “neutrality”, this seems anything but. This just appears to be another case of excessive over-regulation.
Bottom-line, poorly thought-out legislation and regulation never result in a good outcome. Over-regulation…, including attempts to “cure” problems that are not problems, have now clearly damaged the U.S. All jurisdictions are subject to pressures for unjustified and destructive regulation. The monies spent and efficiencies lost are staggering. These pressures come from: Regulators who desire to increase their staff sizes and power; Politicians who like to claim they are “solving” a problem while giving little thought to whether there really is a problem, and whether or not their so-called “solution” will make matters better or worse; Regulatory compliance staffs within businesses who have a vested interest in more regulation; And the news media which, without giving any thought to the consequences, all too frequently like to demand more regulation to stop any “alleged” problem. This just makes no sense to me when we have the deficit we do and the desire by all for a better standard of living. Not now; not ever!
Switzerland may be amazing, but I truly love the United States! I don’t want over-regulation to choke off all we have been destined to be; I don’t want our creativeness to be curtailed; or our leaders not to lead! Rest assured I am all for sound governance, but that can be achieved with minimal interference and ethical oversight—especially with the leaders we have been blessed with.
Minder is a true lesson to take heart by all.
Written by: Brent Longnecker