Belgium tightens governance code

Belgium has announced an update to its 2004 comply or explain corporate governance code. The new code attempts to deal with some of the issues flagged up by the current economic crisis with a particular emphasis on  say on pay disclosures.… Read the rest

A new vocabulary for proxy voting: ‘Comply or Explain’, ‘Best Execution’, ‘Accountability’

Last week the European Sustainable Investment Forum, Eurosif, published a Public Policy Position Paper on Sustainable and Responsible Investment . It calls upon the European Commission to adopt measures facilitating the exercise of shareholder rights and transparency.

Haven’t we been here before?… Read the rest

Eddington concerns resonate with shareholders

Ahead of the Rio Tinto AGMs, Manifest flagged up its concerns regarding the re-election of Sir Roderick Eddington in our meeting business report. Manifest’s US partners, Proxy Governance, issued an ‘against’ recommendation on his re-election.

The results of the voting the AGMs in London and Sydney have now been released.… Read the rest

Companies Adjust Pay Plans in Wake of Market Downturn

Manifest’s North American partner, PROXYGovernance Inc has seen a trend by some US companies to adjust their pay components in response to the market drop and economic downturn – often by suspending long-term incentive pay in favor of more stock and option grants. … Read the rest

PSE calls for shareholder activism

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is urging shareholders to take advantage of the upcoming AGM season to assert their rights and to “not wait until they have been trampled on”.

PSE director and co-chair of the recently established corporate governance committe, Jose Luis Javier, said: “The current global financial crisis has put the spotlight on the importance of the role shareholders play in steering the direction of a company.… Read the rest

How to avoid activists new guidance from The Conference Board

The Conference Board Governance Center has got together with Damien Park of Hedge Fund Solutions to produce guidance and a checklist of issues for boards to  consider in their relations with shareholders. In particular the report is focused on  how to avoid “costly and disruptive confrontations” with activist funds.… Read the rest

Finland proposes Shareholder Rights Directive changes

Voting at Finnish companies is set to get a whole lot easier following an announcement from the Finnish government which will see Finnish company law brought into line with the EU Shareholder Rights Directive. Now that the contents of  the Bill have been decided and presented to parliament, the aim is to bring the amendments into force with effect from 3 August 2009.… Read the rest

Bouygues anti-takeover proposals

Bouygues, a constituent of the French blue-chip index, the CAC 40, is looking for shareholder approval for three potentially contentious proposals at the forthcoming AGM on 23 April.

The most contentious proposal is Resolution 24, seeking an authorisation to issue ‘bons breton’ warrants.… Read the rest

US reforms dodge fair value accounting reform

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s recently announced proposals for US recovery have attracted extreme criticism in many quarters for failing to address the issue of Fair Value Accounting.  Alex Pollock of  the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute and a long-standing critic of mark-to-market accounting rules sees a missed opportunity for a more radical overhaul, as outlined in a recent Accountancy Age analysis of the proposals.… Read the rest

Sibir Energy presses case against former directors

London AIM-listed Sibir Energy plc, (SBE.LN), the Russian energy company listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), has begun proceedings in the High Court against two of its former directors, Henry Cameron, former chief executive, and Chalva Tchigirinski, a property developer and one of the company’s biggest shareholders.… Read the rest