Proxy Season 2009 – A Year to Remember?

Manifest cordially invites you to you our end of season colloquium in Paris on September 9th 2009.

Please join us for an afternoon of informative analysis and lively debate in the graceful surroundings of the British Ambassador’s Residence in the heart of Paris –  just a short train ride from central London and all leading European financial centres.… Read the rest

MBO governance – how not to do it

Management buy-outs remain a key area of governance concern; the protection of the minority shareholders is of vital importance and constant vigilance is called for. Companies  with a controlling shareholder in particular require an ever greater level of attention, especially when it comes to scrutinising related party transactions and remuneration paid to the directors. … Read the rest

Northern Rock shareholders fight on

Northern Rock’s former shareholders have lost their bid for a judicial review of the nationalisation compensation scheme but have vowed to press their claims in the the House of Lords and, potentially, the European Court of Human Rights.  The House of Lords appeal could be heard in summer 2010 but  an appeal to the European Court could take between one and three years.… Read the rest

ASIC pushes for disqualifications for former James Hardie directors

Australia’s Business Day has reported that The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (‘ASIC’) wants seven former non-executive directors and three former executives  at James Hardie banned from company directorships for at least five years each and fined a total of $2.8 million to $3.4 million.… Read the rest

Combined Code Review: FRC issues progress report

The UK’s corporate governance regulator, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has today published a progress report on its review of the Combined Code on Corporate Governance, which it kicked off in March 2009.

The report summarises the results of the consultations and research that the FRC has carried out to date and invites views on various aspects of the Combined Code and its application.… Read the rest

ESG integration – a legal requirement?

A report by the Asset Management Working Group of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative links the integration of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues into investment processes with legal responsibilities of fiduciaries (including pension trustees, asset managers and investment advisors). … Read the rest

Cattles auditors come under investigation

The Accountancy and Actuarial Discipline Board (AADB) has announced that it will investigating  PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and its staff in relation to its role as auditor to struggling sub-prime lender Cattles Plc.

As previously reported on Manifest-I, Cattles  has sacked six directors since March, when it discovered a £700m accounting discrepancy at its Welcome Financial Services arm relating to the way bad debts were recorded.… Read the rest

US Bank Boards after the crisis

A research study by Manifest’s US partners, PROXYGovernance Inc(PGI), reveals some interesting trends about US board governance. PGI’s review of Russell 3000 companies holding their 2009 annual meeting prior to July 1 reveals that boards of financial services firms have added fewer new directors since the sub-prime credit crisis began than boards in any other major sector.… Read the rest

He who shouts loudest: who’s pulling the strings of cross-border voting reform?

Any choral singer will be familiar with the concept: a choir singing an acapella section will often naturally go ‘flat and lose pitch’, only to have to painfully re-adjust pitch when the orchestra joins in. Conversely, if the orchestra were to be playing in the wrong key (as a violinist and singer, a cruel but amusing trick), the choir will automatically re-adjust to the pitch at which the orchestra plays.… Read the rest

Want something done? Ask a busy regulator

It’s an old saying with a grain of truth, if you want something done, ask a busy person. Which is exactly what 50 + major investment professionals have done by joining the Social Investment Forum’s request to the SEC for improved ESG reporting from US-listed companies.… Read the rest