NASDAQ looks at ‘Comply or Explain’

Nasdaq’s Listing and Hearing Review Council is taking soundings on whether the US exchange should adopt corporate governance best practices for its listed companies, and, if so, what they should be.

The Nasdaq Listing and Hearing Review Council is appointed by the Nasdaq board Stock Market to provide advice on public policy issues related to listed companies and includes leading investor advocates Ann Yerger of the Council of Institutional Investors and Peter Clapman of TIAA-CREF (retired).… Read the rest

Total Remuneration Survey 2009 – September update

The September edition of the Manifest/MM&K Total Remuneration Survey was released this week and includes updates from companies with March and June year-ends.

The survey is unique in taking into account the changing mix of compensation from salary and bonus to a total mix of pay where 80% is performance-related.… Read the rest

Animal rights & shareholder rights

The inclusion of the Green Party in the Irish coalition government has seen some interesting new features included in the new “Programme for Government” which was agreed this week after a series of last minute negotiations.

In addition to new protections for mink through the abolition of fur farming and the development of Irish pub food trails, Irish shareholders can expect to see their own protections strengthened.… Read the rest

Myners calls for stewardship reforms

Lord Myners, the UK Treasury’s Minister for the City has again called for a radical  new approach to financial reform – this time it’s investors under the spotlight. In recent months Myners has been no stranger to controversial proposals and during a speech to a conference hosted by UBS, he outlined his concerns about the way corporate governance and stewardship is implemented by investors.… Read the rest

Institutional investors should start own credit rating agencies

Speaking at the Council of Institutional Investors Autumn conference in Los Angeles last week, Jules Kroll, chairman and co-founder of K2 Global Partners, told attendees that investors could improve the integrity of ratings by taking ownership of the process.

Investors should not rely solely on regulators to reform rating agencies, three of which generate 95 percent of all credit ratings issued, Kroll said.… Read the rest

Issuers should disclose consulting contracts with proxy advisors

Leading US mutual fund manager Oppenheimer Funds has written to the SEC supporting improved disclosure of commercial relationships which might create a conflict of interest.

In a Sept.24 letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission commenting on the SEC’s proposed new rules entitled “Proxy Disclosure and Solicitation Enhancements,” OppenheimerFunds said it supports the Commission’s efforts to “enhance transparency to investors around the use of compensation consultants by publicly-held corporate issuers” and calls for greater disclosure of compensation-related consulting by proxy advisory firms. … Read the rest

Guest Column: FairPensions makes the case for RI

This month’s guest article has been written by Catherine Howarth, CEO of FairPensions.

Corporate governance reform isn’t perhaps the most glamorous area of public policy for your ordinary man or woman on the street. Indeed it’s easy to forget how vital it is to the long-term well-being of millions of citizens, particularly those of us with a money purchase (DC) pension plan. … Read the rest

NBIM turns up the heat on governance

One of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, Norway’s $325 billion oil fund, has written to Volskwagen AG expressing its “deep concern” about the Porsche merger saying the deal favors the Porsche and Piech families which together own 51 percent of VW. … Read the rest

Press Update: Executive Pay

The Manifest/MM&K Total Remuneration Survey 2009 was published this week. Here is the press coverage it has received so far:

Bloomberg: Chief executive officers at Britain’s leading 100 companies received pay increases last year even as the FTSE 100 Index fell the most on record and may be handed more this year after the stock market rally, a study said.… Read the rest

Retailers slated over poverty wages

Labour rights campaigners have accused leading British retailers of trapping their overseas garment workers in poverty. In a report published by anti-poverty charity War on Want and NGO Labour Behind the Label, Asda and Matalan are accused of lacking any coherent strategy to ensure a living wage for people who make their clothes abroad.… Read the rest