Learning Activity # 1
You’ve now spent six weeks looking at Naked Wines. How would you “grade” Naked Wines on business ethics?
- Are there any business practices you have encountered that you feel are up against the line, or maybe over it, with respect to business ethics?
- Can you identify any “dangerous waters” that could result in serious problems if not enough attention is paid to ethical business conduct?
- Where do we draw the line between what lawyers call “mere puffery” and outright deception?
- When is it OK to use words that mean one thing to describe something else?
- Do Angels actually “invest” in winemakers? As you probably know, asking the public to “invest” in a business is, in the United States, an activity regulated by the SEC and/or equivalent state-level regulators to protect investors from fraudulent investments. Does Naked Wines have a problem here?
Feel free to respond in in toto rather than question by question.
Learning Activity #2
Looking at Ship finances, review the company proxy statement. In there you should find:
- A brief bio on each of the members of the board of directors
- A “compensation report” explaining how the board has decided how much to pay the CEO and a few other top people.
[If you don’t find this info in the proxy statement, it’s almost surely somewhere else. Keep looking. Let me know if you cannot find it.]
There is an ancient saying that a fish rots from the head. Presumably the opposite is true as well.
Assume that you are an employee of your assigned company. Would you feel better or worse about the company after reviewing these parts of the proxy statement? What facts from these materials would you use to persuade someone to buy stock in the company? What facts would you raise as red flags that need further exploration?