Swedish buffer funds appoint global voting partner

Four of the Swedish buffer funds (AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4) this week announced the appointment of a provider of global voting services:

“The First to Fourth AP Funds (The Funds) have carried out a procurement of a Global Voting Service.

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SEC links pay and risk, faster voting results

In a 4-1 vote, the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a series of governance reforms designed to “help investors make more informed voting decisions.” As from 28 February 2010 investors will not only know a great deal more about the directors they are electing, they will also have faster access to voting outcomes with the introduction of a four day results filing requirement.… Read the rest

Australia’s Productivity Commission delivers report on exec pay

Australia’s Productivity Commission will submit its final report on executive remuneration to the Federal Government on 19 December. The Productivity Commission was asked to undertake a public inquiry into the regulatory framework around remuneration of directors and executives of companies regulated under the Corporations Act.… Read the rest

Punch Taverns shareholders reject remuneration report

Some 55.44% of the votes cast on the resolution to approve the remuneration report at the AGM of Punch Taverns voted against the remuneration report, condemning the report to defeat. The company joins a select list of five companies in the FTSE All-Share to have lost this vote in 2009.… Read the rest

AIM consults on pay disclosure

London Stock Exchange this week announced a consultation on the AIM Rules a which is open until 15 January 2010. The proposals will see all AIM companies obliged to disclose details of directors’ remuneration on an individual basis, as the rules catch up with the actual practice of most leading AIM companies.… Read the rest

ABI tweaks to executive remuneration guidelines don’t go far enough

The 2009 update to the ABI Guidelines on Executive Remuneration will be a disappointment to many investors. The amended guidelines fail to deal with some of the key structural deficiencies in executive pay practice and guidance – a contributory factor to the downturn – although the ABI has inserted 53 words to emphasis the need to take risks fully into account when devising pay policies and practices.… Read the rest

Shareholders have to get out there and vote

David Wighton of The Times writes about the problems of low turnout at shareholder meetings. “Shareholders have to get out there and vote” describes the problems facing Minerva, the property company fighting off a bid from 29.9 per cent shareholder Nathan Kirsh, and Mitchells & Butler, the UK’s biggest pub company, which claims that a concert party is “bent on wresting control of the group”.… Read the rest

The vexed question of bonuses – is there a better way?

As shareholders are asked to get more involved with executive pay monitoring, the problem for many investors is how to judge what is reasonable – traditional bonus plans have resulted in plans which are not aligned with performance. Basing bonuses on stock prices exposes them to external factors, including irrational behaviour that can also influence stock prices.… Read the rest

Big 4 Auditors under pressure: cross-selling persists

Shareholders don’t like it, nor do the regulators. It’s expressively forbidden to be included in appraisals. Unfortunately, evidence uncovered by the Financial Reporting Council’s Audit Inspection Unit (AIU) shows that the controversial practice of selling non-audit services to audit clients is alive and well, threatening the independence of  audits.… Read the rest

How ready are you for climate change?

RailPen would very much like to know what their fund managers are doing to address this key sustainability issue. And to help them with their review, they have worked with HSBC and Linklaters to develop a 77 question Risk Audit covering a four broad topics: legal, investment strategy, client demand issues and asset categories.… Read the rest