Governance gets the LOLs treatment

Let it not be said that the geeky world of governance doesn’t have its lighter moments….

Read the rest

Compensation consultant concentration concerns

The market for US compensation consultants is looking increasingly concentrated according to new research by ProxyGovernance.

Based on data for annual meetings held between Jan. 1, 2009 and July 1, 2009, five consulting firms – Towers Perrinand Watson Wyatt (now combined as Towers Watson & Co.), Frederic W.… Read the rest

Audit votes increase in US

Amendments to ‘Broker Voting Rule’ yield unexpected results

The long-awaited change to NYSE Rule 452, effective Jan. 1, 2010, reclassifying uncontested director elections as ‘non-routine’ items, thereby eliminating the discretion of brokers to vote uninstructed shares, also makes it more difficult for companies with no routine matters on the ballot to achieve a quorum.… Read the rest

Notable shareholder resolutions

While shareholder resolutions and countermotions are still relatively rare in Europe, they are a core feature of the US market. Here Allie Monaco of ProxyGovernance has highlighted some of February and March’s more interesting proposals.

Read the rest

Global investors own 42% of UK shares

Despite tumbling stock market valuations the impact of overseas shareholders in the UK stock market is greater than ever. This could have far reaching implications for the UK government’s attempt to beef up corporate governance.

According to figures released this week by the Office of National Statistics, non resident shareholders now account for 41.5% of UK listed shares, up from 40% as at the end of 2006.… Read the rest

US considers extending voting disclosures

The governmental responses to the financial crisis have been many and varied with markedly different approaches being taken on both sides of the Atlantic. One common strand between the European and US administrations has been the role of institutional shareholders and their use – or otherwise – of voting rights to discipline management.… Read the rest

60,000 pastries – but how many abstentions?

While it is good news to see that Siemens’ shareholders have resolved to put the past firmly behind them, it is interesting to note the priorities of the Siemens’ PR team.

In most markets, proxy voting disclosure has reached a high standard enabling analysts to see the turnout trends.… Read the rest

UK Audit firms to comply or explain own governance

From Polly Peck to Satyam, recurring audit failures have undermined investor confidence in corporate governance. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Financial Reporting Council hope to address those concerns through its newly published “Audit Firm Governance Code”.… Read the rest

Exec pay and ESG – missing links?

European companies fail to link executive pay to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance according to new research published by Eurosif (European Sustainable Investment Forum).

The report, produced in association with an investor-led steering committee including Groupama Asset Management, Henderson Global Investors, MACIF Gestion, PhiTrust Active Investors, Robeco and Société Générale Gestion, highlights what EUROSIF sees as “critical challenges and opportunities for companies in relation to remuneration, incentives and long-term sustainability.”

Research highlights and recommendations for shareholders and regulators include:

  • 29% of FTSE Eurofirst300 listed companies have some commitment to linking remuneration to ESG performance – although concerns exists around the extent to which performance targets are set as ‘soft targets’ thereby guaranteeing a minimum level of bonus.
Read the rest

Shell faces Tar Sands quiz

Shell will be asked to justify its involvement in the controversial Tar Sands oil extraction project later this year following the involvement of 142 investors who have co-filed a shareholder resolution for the company’s AGM in May.

The oil sands are the second largest oil resource in the world comprising some 173Bn barrels in reserves.… Read the rest