South Africa’s PIC pushes institutional investor code

Following a decision by the South African Institute of Directors to abandon a plan to launch a code aimed at encouraging engagement by institutional investors, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has pledged to pursue the matter, according to BusinessDay.

Next month will see the publication of the King III Report on Corporate Governance which will update the existing King II code on corporate governance.… Read the rest

NSW Supreme Court bans former James Hardie directors

The New South Wales Supreme Court has imposed bans and penalties on former directors and officers of James Hardie following the ruling in April 2009 by Justice Ian Gzell that the ten had breached their duties to the company in 2001 over a misleading media release about asbestos compensation.… Read the rest

Collective governance – FSA says “Can Do”

Shareholders wanting to work together on “ad-hoc governance strategies” are unlikely to fall foul of the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA).

In a “safe harbour” letter to the Institutional Shareholders’ Committee, the FSA’s Sally Dewar sets out how its rules apply to shareholders wanting to work together to promote effective corporate governance in investee companies.… Read the rest

US ponders proxy voting results timing

As previously reported, the SEC is proposing that US proxy voting results should be published within 4 days rather than waiting for the next quarterly return to be lodged, which is the majority practice at the moment.

In many parts of the world we now take it for granted that we can see scrutineered voting results within HOURS of the close of even the most contentious meetings (notable exceptions being certain European markets where the minutes take some weeks or even months to appear, and Ryanair – who refuse disclosure entirely despite a Combined Code recommendation).… Read the rest

Lord Myners takes a break – really?

Baron Myners, of Truro in the County of Cornwall is allegedly on holiday in his home county. Not that you would think so given the stream of proposals that have been attributed to the City Minister over the past two weeks.… Read the rest

Bank pay: can UK become the Jones’ to keep up with?

The FSA this week introduced a new code for remuneration practices at large banks, building societies and broker dealers in the UK.  Not surprisingly, the FSA’s main objectives are to ensure that boards keep a tighter rein on the link between company pay and risk management and sustainability, and that incentives provided to individuals are appropriate.… Read the rest

UK companies taking risks with bribery & corruption

UK companies risk falling foul of anti-bribery and corruption rules, according to a new report by KPMG Forensic.

Two thirds of companies believe that there are countries in the world where it is not possible to do business without being involved in bribery and corruption, and yet only a third (35%) say they have stopped doing business in any countries due to the bribery and corruption risk.… Read the rest

Financial reform: fair & effective – not politicised, thank you

Companies and financial institutions around the world have express strong levels of support for many of the key components of financial regulation reform proposed by governments in the United States and Europe, according to new research published this week by Greenwich Associates.… Read the rest

What a difference a broker vote makes

Just to illustrate the impact of the reformed broker voting rules in the USA, it’s interesting to look at Bank of America’s proxy votes results which were released to the SEC on Friday, 7th August.

Last month, the SEC voted to exclude broker votes from all director elections starting 1st January 2010.… Read the rest

Fortis breakup goes ahead

FortisEffect, the group of dissident shareholders opposed to the break-up and nationalisation of Fortis, has lost its attempt to stop the break-up of the company. The commercial court in Amsterdam earlier this week ruled that it could not freeze the sale of the insurance units because it had already partially happened and there were practical objections on how to manage the units under a sale freeze.… Read the rest