Audit conflicts – more consultation

Consultations and accounting news appears to be a bit like London buses, there’s not one for ages and then three of them arrive all at once. This week the FRC got busy with a slew of announcments, notably the Auditing Practices Board (APB) looking for input on the vexed issue of non-audit work for auditors.… Read the rest

CSR standards out for review

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued its draft international standard for social responsibility ISO 26000. The guidance in ISO 26000 draws on best practices developed by existing public and private sector social responsibility initiatives, according to ISO.

ISO 26000 has been drawn up in consultation with many of the leading CSR thinkers and has been designed to be consistent with the declarations and conventions set out by the U.N.… Read the rest

Regulator best practices – do we need more harmonisation?

It’s interesting to compare and contrast the approach taken by securities regulators in relation to complaints and investigations. Last week the Swiss regulator, SIX Exchange Regulation, announced that it had begun an investigation into possible breaches of the Directive on Ad hoc Publicity and the Directive on Information relating to Corporate Governance by UBS AG.… Read the rest

SEC sends in the proxy plumbers

The SEC has reaffirmed its commitment to reform the US proxy voting system. In a speech to Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Law on October 2nd Commissioner Elisse B. Walter outlined the SEC’s position on the mechanics of shareholder voting: “To further our goal of improved corporate governance, our staff is also taking an in-depth look into proxy voting mechanics (such as over and empty voting) and shareholder communications issues (including the “NOBO/OBO” distinction), a project we refer to as “Proxy Plumbing.Read the rest

Manifest wins voting disclosure battle against Ryanair

In early September, Manifest filed a complaint with the Irish Stock Exchange against Ryanair regarding a breach of their obligations under the Listing Rules. We noted that while Provision D.2.2 of the Combined Code recommends disclosure of the proxies lodged at general meetings on a website, that Ryanair had failed to do so.… Read the rest

Who should drive governance reforms – courts or shareholders?

Dell, the world’s second largest PC maker has agreed strengthen its accounting and corporate governance rules as part of a settlement tied to an investigation into its past accounting procedures. At the same time it will will also pay $1.75 million in legal fees according to a settlement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.… Read the rest

Icelandic police raid KPMG and PwC Reykjavik offices

The government investigator charged with examining the collapse of the three Icelandic banks, Ólafur Þór Hauksson, has confirmed that 22 policemen and six French and Norwegian accountants have raided the offices of KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Reykjavik, seizing documents and computer data as part of an investigation into alleged criminal activity.… Read the rest

Exec Pay: Aussie Rules gets tough but fair

Australia is proposing some innovative steps to address concerns about executive pay. This week, the Productivity Commission released a detailed discussion document outlining a series of reforms which it hopes will  improve board accountability, remove conflicts of interest and enhance shareholder engagement on remuneration.… Read the rest

Luxembourg publishes revised governance code

The  Luxembourg Stock Exchange has published a revised edition of its Ten Principles of Corporate Governance for listed companies. The new code has maintained the original structure of the ten principles by continuing to rely on three sets of rules: principles (“comply”); recommendations (“comply or explain”); and finally guidelines.… Read the rest

Norges Bank pushes four companies for independent chairs

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the investment arm of the Norwegian central bank and asset manager for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund and the Government Petroleum Insurance Fund managing over NOK1,000bn (£107bn) in equity investments, has filed shareholder proposals at four US companies calling for independent chairmanship.Read the rest