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.

Prominent ESG investor objects to US legislators' plans to curb proxy advisers

Timothy Smith

Walden Asset Management has added its voice to those criticising the proposed Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act of 2016 (HR 5311) passed last month by the US House of Representatives’ Finance Services Committee.

In a letter to Jeb Hensarling the chairman and Maxine Waters, a member of the committee the ESG-focused asset manager Walden agreed with other More…

Companies and investors need to act on executive pay, PwC believes

Tom Gosling of PwC's Reward Practice

While regulation on directors’ pay can be counter-productive the business community needs to address the concerns of politicians and the wider public about pay inequality in the UK, advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have warned in a report. This is a response to Teresa May’s pledge to tighten up executive pay regulation made just before she became Prime More…

FRC chairman encourages high standards in companies and by investors

Some UK investors can do more to show their commitment to the Stewardship Code’s principles according to Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) speaking at the Chartered Banker’s Culture and Conduct Forum for the Financial Services Industry this week.

Sir Win Bischoff

Bischoff said that the FRC encourages investors to explain More…

US investors and companies are engaging more and seeing value in corporate governance

Ann Yerger Executive Director of the EY Center for Board Matters

Institutional investors in the US are increasingly viewing corporate governance as more than just a compliance exercise but also about an ownership responsibility tied to investment value and risk mitigation, according to Ernst & Young’s (EY) analysis of the 2016 proxy season.

Companies meanwhile are responding to investor demands for increased board accountability and transparency by enhancing More…

UK's new prime minister sets out #corpgov #ESG stall

Theresa May, the UK's new PM

In sharp contrast to US Republican moves to unwind the Dodd Frank corporate governance reforms introduced after the global financial crisis, the UK’s newly appointed Conservative party leader and soon to be prime minister, Theresa May, has signalled strong support for a progressive corporate governance agenda.

Speaking in Birmingham on Monday, (11-Jul-2016) at what was to More…

US Republicans continue their assault on shareholder rights and ESG

Representative Garrett

The US House of Representatives last week voted on a series of proposals designed to dismantle key aspects of Dodd Frank reforms. After June’s vote to propose regulation of proxy advisors and rescind the conflict minerals rule, the latest intervention on watering down shareholder rights and ESG removes:

the SEC’s authority to enforce the CEO median More…

Investors have role to play in tackling forced labour


Investors need to engage more effectively with companies on forced labour and ensure that firms are meeting reporting requirements according to the latest Investor Briefing by pressure group, ShareAction.

The briefing includes examples of shareholder engagement with companies as well as policy makers which has led to action being taken against the use of forced labour by More…

As board diversity stalls, new push to breakdown barriers and improve pipeline


After the initial push to increase board diversity over the past five years, progress appears to have slowed according to two reports published by the UK government and Cranfield School of Management.

The UK government has therefore launched a review focusing on increasing female representation to 33% of boards across the FTSE 350 by 2020. This target was More…

Investors have a role in tackling UK's low productivity


Tackling low business productivity levels since the 2008 financial crisis and recession requires more long-term thinking from investors according to the report How Good is Your Business Really? Raising our ambitions for business performance published last week by the UK’s business-led Productivity Leadership Group (PLG).

The report suggests that short-termist financial pressures can compel managers to More…

MEPs back new lead for Capital Markets Union


The European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs has backed the decision by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to transfer the EU’s financial stability, financial services and capital markets union portfolio to the Commission’s Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. This follows the resignation of the British Commissioner Jonathan Hill after the UK’s referendum result which was in favour of More…