NEW YORK: Edelman Financial and former SEC commissioner Richard Breeden have formed a joint venture designed to provide public companies with consulting and communications services related to issues of corporate governance. The venture will be called Edelman Corporate Governance Advisors, and comes on the heels of a slew of scandals in that area that have dominated recent headlines.
The group is designed to help clients assess and compare themselves to their peers from a corporate governance standpoint. The venture will advise clients in such areas as accounting decisions, disclosure policy, ethical standards, internal controls, board structure, and membership. The unit will also attempt to help clients communicate their governance policies to the financial press, regulatory agencies, and major investors.
As a former director of the SEC during the first Bush administration, Breeden lends gravitas to the venture.
Prior to joining the SEC, Breeden was a domestic policy adviser to President George H. W. Bush, focusing on financial policy. After leaving the SEC, Breeden spent three years as chairman of the international financial services practice of Coopers & Lybrand.
"I think this issue of corporate governance is one that is going to be with us for a long time, Breeden told PRWeek. "The issues are too big and too serious, and the problems too widespread for people to just say 'c'est la vie,' and suddenly go back to the past as if nothing has happened."
Hollis Rafkin-Sax, global head of Edelman Financial, said the decision to create the group grew out of the needs of some of the firm's existing clients.
"We've already begun providing these services for our existing clients," said Rafkin-Sax. "The decision to formalize the venture grew out of what our clients said they needed."