TIAA-CREF warns against outsourcing governance thinking

Long-term investors with a focus on overseeing their investments will play a vital role in improving governing practices of companies in which they invest, which can in turn help to avoid future financial crises, according to a new policy brief released today by TIAA-CREF.… Read the rest

Political donations revisited

The US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission, has sent shockwaves through the US corporate governance community and re-awakes concerns that companies will use shareholder funds to influence US political elections.

Nearly all restraint on corporate political spending has been lifted by the ruling, prompting the Center for Political Accountability to launch a letter campaign aimed at getting S&P 500 companies to disclose all political contributions, including those to trade associations and tax-exempt groups.… Read the rest

Tough self-questioning in Dublin

Whilst the future shape of shareholder engagement responsibility is debated in London, Brussels and across continental Europe, the debate in Dublin is a fierce as anywhere.

In what is traditionally a very close-knit investment and business community, the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) and the Deputy Prime Minister participated in a full and frank exchange of views on the corporate governance dynamics of the financial crisis in Ireland at the ISE last Friday.… Read the rest

Proxy access – hybrid boards perform for shareholders says CalPERS

As the debate about the rights of shareholders to appoint their own nominees to US boards continues, the PROXY Governance (PGI) Hybrid Boards study, sponsored by the IRRC Institute, is appearing with increasing frequency in shareholder comment letters and other governance analyses regarding the SEC’s proposed proxy access rules.… Read the rest

Bolland’s deal: M&S fails to learn the disclosure lesson

There has been much press comment regarding the pay package of Marc Bolland, the new Marks & Spencer (M&S) CEO. M&S has been no stranger to press and investor attention in recent times. In particular, the decision to combine the roles of Chairman and CEO in 2008 attracted criticism for the failure to provide a sufficiently timely and meaningful justification.… Read the rest