Historic year for green investors

Investors engaging with North American companies on climate change financial risks achieved major breakthroughs in the 2009 proxy season according to a recent report by environmental think-tank, CERES.

A record 68 climate-related shareholder resolutions were filed by investors this year. Of the 68 resolutions filed, a record 31 resulted in company agreements and withdrawal of the resolutions.… Read the rest

Global audit standards “negligible” differences

An independent report commissioned by the European Commission has concluded that the differences between US and international audit standards are “negligible”. The study,  prepared by the Maastricht Accounting, Auditing and Information Management Research Center (MARC), evaluated the differences between International Standards in Auditing (ISAs) and the standards of the U.S.… Read the rest

France appoints pay czar to monitor bank bonuses

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stepped into the governance spotlight with a plan to keep bankers pay under control. Following a meeting  on Tuesday between Sarkozy and France’s top banks, including BNP Paribas SA and Société Générale SA the banks agreed to penalize traders who lose money for their firms after getting a bonus and to limit other payouts as part of a government effort to force a global clampdown on financial-sector salaries.… Read the rest

UNPRI gets tough

Earlier this year the United Nations announced it was going to get tough on compliance with its Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative. It has now announced that five financial institutions have been delisted as signatories from the Principles  for not participating in the Initiative’s annual Reporting and Assessment process.… Read the rest

New Swedish Takeover Rules imminent

Näringslivets Börskommitté (NBK), the Swedish Industry and Commerce Stock Exchange Committee, has completed a review of the Swedish takeover rules which apply to regulated markets in Sweden (Nasdaq OMX Stockholm and Nordic Growth Market). Draft revised rules were published in June, with the final draft being submitted to the NASDAQ OMX.… Read the rest

Annual Reports – a failure to communicate

Annual reports are the bread and butter for corporate governance analysts. Here at Manifest we eat our way through almost 4,000 of them every year. You don’t need to take our word for it that they are of, shall be generous and say, ‘variable quality’.  

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Audit independence – costs vs ethics

The current economic downturn is encouraging issuers to review their audit arrangements with more pressure to delivery low cost audits says Ernst & Young’s audit chief, John Flaherty.

According to reports in Accountancy Age tendering activity is at its highest level since the beginning of the new millennium.… Read the rest

US: Proxy access comments mount up

 The SEC’s proposed rule on proxy access is garnering plenty of comments, both in favor of and against, with more than 300 comments filed on the proposal as of Aug. 18, 2009 writes ProxyGovernance’s Scott Fenn.

Law professors and law firms are represented prominently among the institutions and individuals commenting.… Read the rest

PCCW vote rigging – the story continues

The Hong Kong Court of Appeal has rejected a request from Richard Li and PCCW to appeal a ruling that blocked the phone company’s HK$15.93 billion privatization.

Justice Anthony Rogers ordered Pacific Century Regional Developments, Li’s Singapore-listed holding company, to pay the legal costs of Hong Kong’s market regulator and two minority shareholders represented in the proceedings.… Read the rest

Quintain Estates leads by example at AGM

The AGM of Quintain Estates & Development plc, to be held on 9 September, will again include a separate resolution to approve the report of the Audit Committee. Furthermore, shareholders will be asked to vote on the re-election of the Chairman of the Audit and Remuneration Committees – as distinct from their re-election to the Board as directors.… Read the rest