On Wednesday at the Ethics, Trust and Transparency conference, Allan Sloan the Senior Editor at Large for Fortune will speak on a panel dealing with financial transparency.
“There’s a huge difference between transparency and disclosure,” says Sloan. “Companies, especially companies doing business on Wall Street, make endless disclosures-but they’re not necessarily of any use to anybody other than the company and the people who get paid big bucks to create opaque documents.
“Disclosure is when you bury information in widely separated places in a 400-word document filled with small type. Transparency is when you tell people what they need to know in simple terms in readable type on the cover of a document or within the first few pages.
“Disclosure is a legal obligation. Transparency is an ethical obligation.”
The Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility will host the Ethics, Trust & Transparency conference on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 in the Jim Collins Conference Center on Southern Methodist University’s Dallas campus. Registration to attend the conference is open to the public. For more information and to register online, click here or copy and paste this URL in your web browser.
The entire conference will be video streamed on the Maguire Center’s website at http://www.smu.edu/Provost/Ethics.aspx beginning at 8:20 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011.
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Most businesses take certain actions just to avoid law suits or legal problems. Transparency and disclosure are interpreted based on self interest and interests of a business. they are terms whose meaning has been cut to fit whatever interest managers want at that time. Ethics to so many businesses will always come second to Legal issues.