Conflicts of interest, human capital and investor confidence concerns dog Sports Direct

In a surprise change of PR last Friday, (26 August 2016) Sports Direct announced that it would hold a public open day to coincide with its AGM on 7th September  at its premises in Shirebrook. The event is said to “enable the board to engage with as many people as possible in an open discussion about the business.” In an unprecedented move the AGM is also being opened up to non-shareholders – previous AGMs have previously been tightly restricted to shareholders only with all press excluded.Read the rest

ShareSoc urges a vote against excessive pay at housebuilder Berkeley

Tony Pidgley CBE Chairman of Berkeley

Tony Pidgley CBE
Chairman of Berkeley

ShareSoc, which represents individual shareholders in the UK, is advising its members to vote against the remuneration report of house builder Berkeley Group at its AGM on 6th September.

Tony Pidgley, co-founder and executive chairman, of Berkeley, received £21m in the financial year ending 2016 and £23m in the previous year.… Read the rest

US SEC seeks views on sustainability & governance reporting

SEC Logo

SEC Logo

The US Securities & Exchange Commission is consulting on whether the current business and financial disclosure requirements that form part of Regulation S-K continue to provide the information that investors need to make informed investment and voting decisions.

The SEC said this consultation was focused on the disclosures that companies provide in their periodic reports, which are a subset of the disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, because many of them have changed little since they were first adopted and are often the foundation of the disclosures investors look to when making investment decisions.… Read the rest

Survey questions directors fiduciary focus

FTSE 100 companies paid more out in dividends to shareholders last year than the combined pension deficit figure according to the annual Accounting for Pensions report produced by pensions advisers Lane, Clark Peacock (LCP).

The survey found that the combined pension deficit of the 56 companies in the FTSE 100 that disclosed a deficit at their 2015 year-end was £42.3bn while those same companies paid dividends totalling £53.0bn, some 25% higher in 2015, while they paid around five times as much in dividends as they did in contributions to their defined benefit pension schemes. … Read the rest

Sports Direct AGM turmoil looms

Besieged retailer Sports Direct  has responded to further criticism of its governance practices. This time it is the  poor standard of its board evaluation procedures which Manifest’s recent AGM report has flagged as a clear breach of the UK Governance Code.… Read the rest

Top UK companies and investors update say on pay guidance

The UK’s GC100 and Investor Group – made up of top general counsel, company secretaries and corporate governance heads at fund manager groups – has published its latest remuneration reporting guidance replacing the original version which was produced following the updating of pay disclosure regulations in 2013 which included the introduction of binding remuneration policies approved at least every three years by shareholders.… Read the rest

UK rolls out gender pay gap reporting regulations

The UK government will have the  power to make, through regulations, the framework for gender pay gap reporting by companies with 250 or more employees when Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 comes into force on 22nd August.

Section 78 states that the regulations may require employers to publish information relating to the pay of employees for the purpose of showing whether, by reference to factors of such description as is prescribed, there are differences in the pay of male and female employees.Read the rest

RI guidance for DC pension schemes attracts widespread welcome

 The UK’s Pension Regulator’s new code of practice for occupational trust-based defined-contribution (DC) pension schemes and the publication of six ‘how to’ guides to give comprehensive guidance to trustees has been warmly welcomed by a number of responsible investment groups.
The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) said that the investment governance guide is clear that the schemes’ investment governance arrangements need to be consistent with its legal powers and responsibilities as outlined by the Law Commission’s 2014 report into fiduciary duties.… Read the rest

UK’s Financial Reporting Council publishes revised audit firm governance code

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has revised the audit firm governance code aiming to improve its visibility, relevance to investors and increase its alignment to the UK’s corporate provenance code. This follows a review carried out into the implementation of the original 2010 code between 2014-2015 and a consultation into the draft revised code published last December.… Read the rest

UK’s Executive Pay Working Group releases final recommendations

The Executive Remuneration Working Group, supported by the UK’s Investment Association, has produced 10 recommendations aimed at regaining the public’s trust on executive pay, simplifying the pay structures of top company bosses and improving the alignment of their interests with those of their shareholders in its recently published final report.… Read the rest