Accounting Standards: too important to leave to accountants

European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has gone public with his concerns about role and structure of the International Accounting Standards Board. In his usual direct way McCreevy has pointed out that: “Accounting is now far too important to be left solely to accountants!”

Speaking at a recent European Commission’s conference, Financial Reporting in a Changing World,  McCreevy said that EU finance ministers regarded the IASB as being  “out of touch with today’s reality”  with an approach to standard setting which was too academic.… Read the rest

US Shareholders look forward to a “Bill of Rights”

If  Democratic New York Senator Charles ‘Chuck’ E Schumer has his way, shareholders of US-quoted companies can expect to see their ownership rights significantly enhanced. Schumer’s move was flagged in late April but reports are coming in that the Bill will be presented this week.… Read the rest

All Change At The Top Of Europe’s Banks

Half of Europe’s biggest banks have changed their chief executive or chairman in the past 12 months, leaving question marks over their leadership experience just as the first signs emerge of an economic recovery.

Ten of Europe’s 20 largest banks by market capitalization or scale of investment banking operations have appointed new heads during the period, according to research by Financial News.… Read the rest

No voting policies? that will be $350,000 says SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged INTECH Investment Management LLC, a Florida based investment advisor with violating its proxy rules after it was found that it failed to describe its voting policies and procedures  as well as failing to manage and disclose a major conflict of interest.… Read the rest

South African Code to Recommend Say on Pay

The Institute of Directors in South Africa has published drafts of the King III Report and King III Code on Corporate Governance.

Shareholders are being offered a chance for a say on pay but it won’t be mandatory. The draft code states that shareholders “should approve the company’s remuneration policy”, while noting that the Board is responsible for determining executive remuneration.… Read the rest

Say on Pay comes to Ireland

Manifest’s request for global shareholders to have a “Say on Pay” at Irish companies has its first success; DCC Group plc has confirmed that they will be allowing a shareholder vote on the directors remuneration report at this summer’s AGM. It is understood that this will be proposed as a management-sponsored resolution which is greatly welcomed and we hope will encourage other companies to do likewise.… Read the rest

ASIC case against Fortescue Metals for misleading & deceptive conduct

Closing submissions have been made in the case taken by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (‘ASIC’) against Fortescue Metals Group for misleading and deceptive conduct.

The case centres on a series of announcements FMG made to the market between 23 August 2004 and 9 November 2004 concerning certain framework agreements with three major state owned Chinese companies.… Read the rest

Manifest Requisitions Say on Pay Resolutions

Manifest this week requisitioned a say on pay shareholder resolution at the Bank of Ireland and four more leading Irish listed companies: DCC; Elan; C&C Group; and Independent News & Media.

As the course of this year’s European proxy season has progressed, we have noted a marked lack of progress in Irish corporate governance arrangements.… Read the rest

Xstrata rebuke – here’s why

Today’s FT leads with the news of Xtrata’s pay policy rebuff from shareholders as another example of shareholders flexing their muscules over pay for failure.

Despite a 35% fall in EPS in the past year, the Xstrata board proposed increases in exec pay including a 4.8% rise for CEO Mick Davis who, according to the FT earned $2.3 last year.… Read the rest

Agencies take a greater role

The agencies that advise fund managers on how to vote are an increasingly important feature of the protests and rebellions that shareholders stage, writes Kate Burgess.

…Manifest is another whose standing has risen in tandem with the focus on corporate governance and the pressure on institutional investors and pension funds to use their voting power…..Read the rest