Swiss pensions funds could improve on responsible investment says new study

Environmental charity, WWF, together with Responsible Investment (RI) pressure group ShareAction, has carried out the first survey examining the RI approaches of the 20 largest Swiss pension funds. The study analysed how far pension funds invest their beneficiaries’ money sustainably and whether they transparently provide them with information.… Read the rest

Investors call for systematic climate-related risk reporting

A group of institutional investors has called on companies to assess and report their climate-related risks within their annual report to shareholders, in the interests of prudent and long-term capital stewardship.

The position paper has been signed by Natasha Landell-Mills, head of stewardship at Sarasin & Partners;  Councillor Kieran Quinn, chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London Asset Management,  John David, head of Rathbone Greenbank Investments and Adam Matthews, head of engagement for the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board of the Church of England.… Read the rest

Oil company climate change reporting demand gains traction

Shareholder resolutions requesting reporting on how oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron will adapt to climate change targets received record investor backing at their AGMs last week (25th May), according to US pressure group, Ceres.

The resolution that would have required ExxonMobil to prepare an annual report examining the implications to the company’s business if world leaders follow through on their pledges to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels, received 38% of the vote while a similar resolution put before Chevron’s investors got 41% backing from shareholders.… Read the rest

UK’s Financial Reporting Council provides feedback on succession planning consultation

Achieving greater board diversity to improve company performance was the most pressing concern of respondents to the UK’s Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) succession planning consultation.

The FRC’s feedback statement on the consultation found that respondents believed that boards as a whole should be better informed about the link between diversity, strategy and business value.… Read the rest

Short-term shareholders damage UK companies and wider economy claim two new reports

British companies are losing out – potentially by over £130bn a year – because they lack clear corporate purposes that unite all stakeholders in common goals and values, according to the interim report by the Purposeful Company Taskforce, which was established by the Big Innovation Centre.… Read the rest

UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission produces guidance for company boards

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced a guide for UK boards to ensure that they are taking human rights seriously and meeting their international obligations.

The guide provides five steps boards should follow to satisfy themselves that their companies identify, mitigate and report on the human rights impacts of their activities.… Read the rest

Ferrexpo forced to hold second vote on director re-appointments

Ferrexpo, which manufactures iron ore pellets which are used in the steel industry, has received a high level of opposition from shareholders to a number of resolutions at its AGM this week (19th May) including those relating to the appointment of non-executive directors.… Read the rest

More UK companies face investor opposition to executive pay this week

Standard Life, which as an institutional investor is known for its stewardship approach, faced opposition to the pay awarded to its chief executive, Keith Skeoch at its recent AGM (17th May). The investment and insurance company received a 22% vote against it remuneration report. Read the rest

US legislators consider role of proxy voting firms

US legislators held a hearing recently (17th May) which considered possible bills which they believe would improve US financial transparency, regulation and capital market formation, including a proposal “To improve the quality of proxy advisory firms for the protection of investors and the U.S.Read the rest

Executive Pay watch emphasises US pay gap between CEOs and other employees

The US federation of trade unions, the AFL-CIO, has released its latest Executive Paywatch data which it says shows the average CEO of an S&P 500 company received an annual income of $12.4 million in 2015—335 times more money than the average rank-and-file worker. … Read the rest

US audit firms to disclose the partners who carry out audits

The US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has  announced that its rules to improve the transparency of the audit by disclosing the names of audit engagement partners, as well as information about other firms that participate in the audits, were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.… Read the rest

Nomination committees no longer the poor relation?

Nomination committees have been the poor relation of board committees, according to advisory firm, Ernst & Young (EY). However this appears to be changing as companies adapt to demands for a more professional approach to director recruitment and to scrutiny about board diversity and effectiveness.… Read the rest