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

The Institute of Directors hopes framework will improve director quality

iod logoWith a backdrop of damning reports from MPs published  last week on the demise of the retailer BHS and on poor working practices at Sports Direct, which both identified weak corporate governance as partly to blame for company failures, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has launched its Director Competency Framework which it said sets out the knowledge, skills and mind-set that a director needs to perform effectively as a board member.… Read the rest

US business leaders call for backing of “common sense corporate governance principles”

Jamie Dimon

A group of 13 US and Canadian fund managers, pension funds and company bosses have taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a set of corporate governance principles in a bid to quell rising unease and conflict around US governance standards.

In an open letter the business leaders, who include Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, Larry Fink chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, veteran activist investor Warren Buffet head of Berkshire Hathaway, Mary Barra, chairman and chief executive of General Motors and Mark Machin chief executive of  the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, indicate that while they have various opinions on corporate governance, “We share the view that constructive dialogue requires finding common ground — a starting point to foster the economic growth that benefits shareholders, employees and the economy as a whole.… Read the rest

A strong, healthy company culture adds long-term value

A strong corporate culture that is embedded throughout a company and reinforced with strong leadership by the chief executive and chairman can produce long-term value for businesses a study by the Financial Reporting Council has found.

The report, based on a series of interviews with company secretaries, chairmen and chief executives, explores the relationship between corporate culture and long-term business success in the UK.… Read the rest

Investors & companies “in the dark over value of the workforce”

PLSA Toolkit

Understanding the value of a company’s workforce is important for investors, and companies should improve their reporting on this and be able to link this reporting to their wider company strategy and business model, according to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA).… Read the rest