James Moore: An impeccable addition to Pru's impeccable board. Pimm's all round

 

Outlook Prudential has been busily collecting boardroom baubles since the spectacular mishandling of its attempted takeover of Asian insurer AIA.

Today the life insurer added another member of the City's aristocracy in the form of Philip Remnant, who has been hired as the senior independent director.

When City folk look down Pru's list of directors they tend to nod with approval and mutter about its high-powered board.

There's Lord Turnbull, the former Cabinet Secretary; Sir Howard Davies, former head of the Financial Services Authority, the CBI and now the London School of Economics; and various other business luminaries from around the world.

Based on his long City experience, with the likes of BZW (head of M&A), Credit Suisse (head of UK investment banking) and the Takeover Panel (director-general), Mr Remnant fits the bill. He's a fully paid-up member of the City establishment.

Given Prudential's mis-steps down the years, its grand group of grandees has presumably been put together with the aim of reassuring investors – not to mention skittish regulators – that the company is in safe hands.

But is a former M&A guru really the sort of person to say "no" when the next daft deal finds its way on to Prudential's doorstep? And are any of the people on Pru's board going to raise objections the next time a pay consultant recommends an excessive and ill-thought-out package when an executive threatens to flounce out? It would be most interesting to know if any of them holds more than a token interest in the sort of policies Prudential sells, and has in the past frequently mis-sold.

Mr Remnant, as the senior independent director, or Sid, is supposed to be a conduit through which shareholders can raise objections to, or concerns about, things like bad deals, bad pay or just bad practice.

One of those shareholders is probably M&G, Prudential's own fund management operation. It isn't likely to be knocking on his door, though. Not because M&G is owned by Prudential. Very few Sids appear to hear anything from it. M&G's voting record shows just 24 votes against management or abstentions between April and June. During the so called "shareholder spring" it was sat by the river drinking Pimm's and lemonade.

Given the establishment mindset and board of its parent company, that should come as no great surprise.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions