Manifest-I

Welcome to Manifest-I the blog of Manifest, the proxy voting agency. Here we take a wide ranging view of topical governance and stewardship issues. Please feel free to add your comments and join the debate.

Short-termism and lack of purpose is damaging UK companies and wider economy reports conclude

British companies are losing out – potentially by over £130bn a year – because they lack clear corporate purposes that unite all stakeholders in common goals and values, according to the interim report by the Purposeful Company Taskforce, which was established by the Big Innovation Centre.

The taskforce believes that having companies with a clear purpose makes them more More…

UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission produces guidance for company boards

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a guide for UK boards to ensure that they are taking human rights seriously and meeting their international obligations.

The guide provides five steps boards should follow to satisfy themselves that their companies identify, mitigate and report on the human rights impacts of their activities. These steps will also help boards More…

Ferrexpo forced to hold second vote on director re-appointments

Ferrexpo, which manufactures iron ore pellets which are used in the steel industry, has received a high level of opposition from shareholders to a number of resolutions at its AGM this week (19th May) including those relating to the appointment of non-executive directors. This has meant the company will need to call a second vote to seek approval for More…

More companies face investor opposition to executive pay this week

Standard Life, which as an institutional investor is known for its stewardship approach, faced opposition to the pay awarded to its chief executive, Keith Skeoch at its recent AGM (17th May). The investment and insurance company received a 22% vote against it remuneration report. This week’s other UK AGM results also showed continuing disquiet among shareholders about More…

US legislators consider role of proxy voting firms

US legislators held a hearing recently (17th May) which considered possible bills which they believe would improve US financial transparency, regulation and capital market formation, including a proposal “To improve the quality of proxy advisory firms for the protection of investors and the U.S. economy, and in the public interest, by fostering accountability, transparency, responsiveness, and competition in More…

Executive Pay watch emphasises pay gap between CEOs and other employees

The US federation of trade unions, the AFL-CIO, has released its latest Executive Paywatch data which it says shows the average CEO of an S&P 500 company received an annual income of $12.4 million in 2015—335 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker. The AFL-CIO said its figures showed that in 2015 the average production and non-supervisory worker earned about $36,900 per year, a More…

US audit firms to disclose the partners who carry out audits

The US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has  announced that its rules to improve the transparency of the audit by disclosing the names of audit engagement partners, as well as information about other firms that participate in the audits, were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Audit firms are required to file with the PCAOB on a new More…

Nomination committees no longer the poor relation?

Nomination committees have been the poor relation of board committees, according to advisory firm, Ernst & Young (EY). However this appears to be changing as companies adapt to demands for a more professional approach to director recruitment and to scrutiny about board diversity and effectiveness.

In The nomination committee — coming out of the shadows published by EY More…

Two thirds of large UK businesses have suffered a cyber attack in the past year

Two thirds (65%) of large UK companies have admitted to having suffered a cyber breach in the past year, according to a survey conducted for the government.

The study also found that 69% of companies said that senior managers were aware of the problem but only just over half (51%) had taken the recommended actions to avoid cyber More…

Companies and investors adjusting to a low carbon economy future

Responsible investment advocacy group, ShareAction has called on US asset manager, Vanguard, to demonstrate its commitment to company engagement on climate issues by voting in favour of shareholder resolutions on climate risk at ExxonMobil and Chevron, in an open letter to its chief executive Bill McNabb.

In the letter Catherine Howarth, chief executive of ShareAction, calls on the company to undertake a “robust More…