UBS investors reject director discharge

UBS shareholders now have six months to decide whether to file actions against the board after voting down the 2007 director liability discharge resolution.

A total of 52.8% of shareholders voted against the discharge for 2007 with 46% in support. Discharges for 2008 and 2009 managed to achieve 80% support.… Read the rest

Australian pay reforms set global standard

Australian  Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law, Chris Bowen has delighted Australian shareholders with plans to introduce extensive executive remuneration reforms designed to force boards to be more accountable and give shareholders more power.

Chris Bowen MP

Chris Bowen MP

In a ringing endorsement of the Productivity Commission’s review of executive pay which was published in January this year, the Rudd administration has announced that it will introduce legislation to implement many of the PC’s 17 recommendations, including the “two strikes” proposal, which will strengthen the non-binding vote on remuneration and set out consequences where companies do not adequately respond to shareholder concerns on remuneration issues.… Read the rest

US proxy season – April’s hot issues

Allie Monaco, Research Manager of Manifest’s US partners, Proxy Governance takes a look at the hot issues of the US proxy for the coming two weeks:

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BP faces tar sands test

A shareholder resolution tabled at BP’s AGM calling for more financial, environmental and social information on the implications of extracting oil sands has managed to achieve 6% of votes in favour. Taking abstentions or votes positively witheld, the company was only able to achieve 85% support for its approach to this controversial exploration scheme.… Read the rest

Governance issues on the election trail

As the UK gears up for the national elections on May, the general public has now received nearly all of their “notices of meeting” ahead of casting their ballots. Sadly, there won’t be any electronic voting – but then the residents of Florida would probably say we should be grateful for a stubby little pencil on the end of a piece of string and a rickety wooden booth.… Read the rest

Fujitsu: succession planning the Japanese way

Nozoe Kuniaki, ousted CEO of Tokyo Stock Exchange’s 40th largest company, Fujitsu, this week issued a Court petition in an attempt to clear his name following unfounded accusations of links to organised crime.

At a news conference this week, Nozoe threatened to sue two Fujitsu executives over his departure, which he claims was linked to his attempts to sell Internet service subsidiary Nifty Corp.… Read the rest

ING reneges on anti-takeover structure

Citing the pressures of the “financial crisis” the ING Trust Office has stepped back from its committment to review its role in voting the un-voted shares at Dutch BOFI, ING Group.

Foreign shareholders will be dismayed to see that despite having met the 35% voting threshold at the last 3 AGMs, the Trust appears determined not to dismantle ING’s anti-takeover vehicle.… Read the rest

Nordic governments use say on pay powers

The Swedish government has stepped in to halt incentive-based pay plan for executives at mobile phone operator TeliaSonera. At Wednesday’s AGM in Stockholm, the government used its 37 per cent stake to force through changes to the company’s pay structure which aims to see directors paid a basic salary only.… Read the rest

Proof of ownership problems hit activism

Not for the first time, proof of share ownership is being used to stymie shareholder engagement and activism. This time it’s France where Franco-American Financier and Activist Guy Wyser-Pratte is attempting to bring about changes at Lagardère SCA.

With echoes of Apache v Chevedden, following a series of wrangles about two shareholder proposals, the protaganists met in Commercial Court in Paris on Wednesday to resolve their differences.… Read the rest

And another good reason for a proxy system overhaul

Over at Jim McRitchie is doing his bit to raise some vital issues about the quality of the US proxy system.

This time, Jim is airing doubts about the quality of informatiion presented to shareholders on 3rd party voting platforms, more specifically Broadridge, the monopoly US platform.… Read the rest