First there was vote borrowing, now there’s vote buying

The governance world has been concerned about the possible abuses arising from so-called “stock lending”, particularly when it comes to voting rights. Many commentators have suggested that  it should really be called “temporary stock selling” to better reflect the legal reality of loss of ownership rights. … Read the rest

Financial Market Reform: US investors have their say

The Investors Working Group, a bi-partisan panel of experts created in February 2009 by the Council of Institutional  Investors and the CFA Institute Centre for Financial Market Integrity, has released its recommendations for reform and modernisation of the US financial markets.… Read the rest

SEC reform proposals: Disclosure & Proxy Access

Not to be outdone by the Walker Review this week, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) has released the full text proposals from their July 1st meeting which are aimed at enhancing pre- and post-meeting disclosure and facilitation of the solicitation process for non-management groups.… Read the rest

Calpers sues ratings agencies over sub-prime losses

The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, is the US’s largest pension fund which provides retirement benefits to 1.6 million public employees. It’s also one of the most active proponents of good corporate governance on both a domestic and global stage.… Read the rest

Walker Principles to go global?

The  UK Government and Treasury has, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, warmly welcomed Sir David Walker’s proposals for the reform of the corporate governance of UK banks.  At the same time,  Lord Myners, the Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury has given the market  a strong steer on possible next steps for the proposed reforms, including taking them on to a global stage.… Read the rest

Asian voting is a missed opportunity

Voting levels at Asian companies are cause for concern concludes the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA). Talking to the Financial Times earlier this week, Jamie Allen, secretary general of ACGA has said that lack of investor  involvement means that voting levels are running at about 30% some 20% shy of the levels of voting in the UK or US.… Read the rest

Sir David Walker’s 39 Steps

Sir David Walker’s review of the governance of UK banks, commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has published 39 recommendations aimed at improving the governance of  banks and other big financial institutions (BOFIs). The aim of the report was to find ways of minimising risky behaviour and improving the way companies and shareholder communicate and interact.… Read the rest

Separate Company Secretary role vital for good governance

As much as the combination of a chair and CEO role provokes concerns amongst investors, at an operational level Manifest has had concerns over the combination of the roles of Company Secretary and Finance Director for some years now. Firstly there is the potential for compromising of the independence of the Company Secretary with respect to their governance responsibilities to the Board and the Chairman.… Read the rest

Germany changes law on D&O Insurance

The Bundesrat is expected to ratify Gesetz zur Angemessenheit der Vorstandsvergütung – VorstAG today, following its approval by the Bundestag on 18 June 2009. The new law will then come into effect upon its publication in the German Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt).… Read the rest

Australian governance disclosures improve says ASX

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has published its latest analysis of reporting against the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Principles and Recommendations and finds that companies and trusts are continuing to improve their corporate governance reporting.

ASX’s supervision subsidiary, ASX Markets Supervision (ASXMS), reviewed the FY08 annual reports of 1,510 listed entities that reported with a 30 June year end date, representing  approximately 72% of all listed entities.… Read the rest