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Wates corporate governance principles for large private companies

The Financial Reporting Council launched a consultation in June 2018, following the Government's 2016 Green Paper and BEIS Select Committee report of 2017 which identified the need for greater transparency and accountability in large private companies which were not currently covered by the UK Corporate Governance Code. The consultation was chaired by James Wates CBE, Chairman of the Wates Group. The Principles arising from the consultation were published in December 2018.


The Principles

The Wates corporate governance principles for larger private companies. Published 10th December 2018, reporting against these principles will take effect on 1 January 2019. The Principles were launched by the press release Wates Principles to improve corporate governance standards among private companies.

The principles aim to help those companies which are subject to the thresholds in The Companies (Miscellaneous reporting) Regulations 2018 and now have to report on their corporate governance arrangements. This new reporting requirement applies to all companies that satisfy either or both of the following conditions:

  • more than 2,000 employees;
  • a turnover of more than £200 million, and a balance sheet of more than £2 billion.


In February 2022 The FRC published, in a press release entitled Companies are embracing the spirit of the Wates Principles, the first in-depth assessment of the quality of reporting of companies following the Waites principles. The report The Wates Corporate Governance Principles for Large Private Companies: The Extent, Coverage and Quality of Corporate Governance Reporting was conducted by the University of Essex.

Early indications of Wates Principles reporting
February 2021 article by Sir James Wates discussing how companies have been reporting against the Principles.

FRC launches Wates Principles
Economia article from December 2018.

ICAEW says Wates principles don't meet Government aims
Economia article from September 2018.

Six governance principles for large private companies
Economia article on the consultation launch from June 2018.

Corporate governance reform green paper
Published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in November 2016 (Government responses published August 2017).

BEIS Select Committee report on corporate governance
Published by the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy select Committee in April 2017.

Corporate Governance Guidance and principles for unlisted companies
Guidance and principles published by the Institute of Directors in 2010.

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