Peer Groups & Pay, new research from PGI and IIRCi

PROXY Governance and the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi) today released a new study, “Compensation Peer Groups at Companies with High Pay” that identifies a subset of S&P 500 companies with high pay that is not aligned with high performance.… Read the rest

SEC ready to review US proxy plumbing

Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission is a step closer to straightening out America’s proxy plumbing. In a speech made at the Stanford University Law School Directors College on June 20th, Schapiro outlined the Commission’s current thinking.

“the Commission will soon consider publishing a concept release soliciting detailed ideas about how to modernize the voting infrastructure through which, I am told, over 600 billion shares are voted every year at more than 10,000 public company shareholder meetings.Read the rest

US financial reform horse trading hits investors

As elected representatives in the US enter the final stages of merging the two competing financial services reform bills, investors are becoming increasingly anxious that their key reform proposal, access to the proxy, will be rendered useless.

From the outset, both the House and Senate versions of the reform bills have either supported or required the SEC to adopt some form of proxy access, leaving it will be up to the SEC to decide on the implementation details. … Read the rest

Companies Move to Block New Remuneration Disclosure Requirements in Brazil

Reaction to the new remuneration disclosure requirements set out by the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil, or “CVM”), have been mixed, ranging from full and immediate compliance to complete revolt – with some companies filing lawsuits challenging the legality of the new provisions.… Read the rest

Wyser-Pratte challenges outcome of Lagardère AGM

The activist shareholder Guy Wyser-Pratte has challenged the outcome of the AGM of Lagardère, held on 27 April, and requested the French market regulator, the AMF, to verify the procedures for the transmission of the votes submitted to the meeting.

In a letter dated 8 June 2010, Wyser-Pratte states that he has serious doubts about the validity of the result and asserts that the votes of many overseas shareholders were not counted.… Read the rest

Support for Environmental & Social Issues Votes Surges in US

New research from Manifest’s US partner ProxyGovernance Inc reveals just how rapidly support is growing for E&S votes at US companies. For the first time, E&S resolutions have represented the largest portion of shareholder proposals. Although the number of resolutions has remained below 200, those resolutions with more than 30% support have seen an 8 fold increase from 4% in 2005 to 32% in 2010.… Read the rest

The Reg FD Shareholder Dialogue Myth – Busted

As Prudential has recently found to its cost, it’s generally worth while keeping shareholders in the loop. Whereas UK and European companies are generally welcoming of investor dialogue to the extent it is enshrined in national governance codes, any meaningful dialogue with US-listed companies has been fraught with difficulties.… Read the rest

US pension funds fight to keep proxy reforms on the table

CalPERS and 20 other public pension plans have written to key US lawmakers urging them to keep corporate governance provisions in the final version of a proposed financial regulations reform bill.

The US House of Representatives and Senate have each passed versions of reform legislation and now must now merge the two bills.… Read the rest

SEC moves forward on proxy reform

The SEC has confirmed that it will be issuing a green paper on proxy reform later this year. Speaking at a Business Roundtable quarterly meeting last week, SEC Chairman, Mary Schapiro said: “the mechanics of the proxy process have not kept pace with current market conditions or trading practices.Read the rest

UK’s IIC outlines thinking on stewardship

The Institutional Investor Council (IIC), the successor body to the Institutional Shareholders’ Committee (ISC), has started to lay out its stall on possible work programmes.  Speaking at the IMA’s annual dinner in the City of London this week, Douglas Ferrans, IMA chairman, outlined his vision of how the IIC would tackle the “endlessly complex” conflicts of interest currently challenging the financial services industry.… Read the rest