CalPERS steps up activism

CalPERS, the activist US pension fund, filed nearly double the number of shareholder proposals in 2006/07 as in the previous 12 months. What is more, all of the six CalPERS proposals that appeared on proxy ballots in the first half of 2007 received investor votes averaging over 60%.… Read the rest

Online opposition launched to SEC proxy access proposals

The Social Investment Forum (SIF) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility have launched a website – www.SaveShareholderRights.org – as part of a campaign to oppose controversial US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposals they argue would seriously undermine investor rights.… Read the rest

Pay & Performance

Top UK companies are increasingly incorporating non-financial factors such as customer satisfaction into executive bonus plans, accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has found. PwC’s research revealed that the number of companies offering bonus plans based on purely financial measures has halved over the past year, falling from 33% in 2005/06 to 17% in 2006/07.… Read the rest

Pension fund engagement on the increase

Pension funds surveyed by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) are working more closely with the companies they invest in to actively promote corporate governance.

More than three quarters of these funds have helped change remuneration packages, board membership or corporate strategy, and eight out of ten funds believe governance standards are continuing to improve.… Read the rest

Nasdaq abandons pursuit of LSE

 Nasdaq, the US exchange, wishes to divest its 31% stake in the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Nasdaq built up its stake earlier this year during the course of an unsuccessful takeover bid, and earlier in August backed an LSE/Borsa Italiana merger that will significantly dilute this holding.… Read the rest

One quarter of FTSE 350 audit committee reports are inadequate

Some 23% of FTSE 350 companies are not adequately reporting to shareholders on the activities of their audit committees, producing in effect little more than a summary of the committees’ terms of reference, research by the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has found.… Read the rest

Academic Roundup – September 2007

Manifest-I presents a summary of recently released academic papers on international corporate governance and corporate social responsibility issues.

Reputational Sanctions in China’s Securities Market
Benjamin Liebman and Curtis Milhaupt, Columbia Law School

Public criticism of listed companies by the Shanghai and Shenzen exchanges is having a significant effect on corporations and their executives, according to the findings of this paper.… Read the rest

Government under siege on climate change

Large companies would be forced to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions to a common standard under proposals by Conservative Party think tank the Quality of Life Policy Group. The Group, chaired by former environment minister John Gummer, was formed by David Cameron to provide independent input to the Conservatives on every aspect of the “quality of life” agenda.… Read the rest

LCH.Clearnet tests interoperability code

LCH.Clearnet, the clearing house, has issued formal requests to Deutsche Börse and Borsa Italiana for links allowing it to clear share trades executed on their platforms.

LCH.Clearnet said implementation of these links will allow users of those markets to consolidate clearing of cash equities traded on the London Stock Exchange, virt-x, Deutsche Börse and Borsa Italiana.… Read the rest