UK’s Investment Association explains how investors can boost productivity

The Investment Association (IA) has published an industry-wide Productivity Action Plan which it believes will boost the UK economy through long-term investment, helping to reverse the UK’s productivity problem. The action plan aims to encourage the provision of more long-term finance for companies and enhance investor stewardship.
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Still work to do to break up old boy networks says UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission

UK companies continue to use personal networks when recruiting board members, which acts as a barrier to women becoming directors, according to an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The study found that while the overall target set by the Davies review of 25% of FTSE 100 board members being women has been achieved this masks the reality that within individual companies the number of women on boards can still be low.… Read the rest

New Zealand stock exchange provides update on corporate governance reporting review

The New Zealand Stock Exchange, NZX, is currently reviewing the responses to its recent consultation on proposed changes to corporate governance reporting requirements within the NZX Main Board Listing Rules.

One of the key concerns raised by respondents is the fragmentation of existing corporate governance reporting requirements in New Zealand and the NZX said it was engaging with a number of stakeholders, including the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) to understand how this can be addressed.… Read the rest

Fund management mandates should include ESG criteria

The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative has launched a report, How Asset Owners Can Drive Responsible Investment: Beliefs, Strategy and Mandates, calling on asset owners to do more to reflect ESG risks and opportunities in their investment beliefs and mandates.… Read the rest

UK Financial Reporting Council pre-AGM alert to investors on company reporting

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has written to institutional investors highlighting the key issues they should be considering ahead of the peak season of company shareholder meetings.

The letter from Stephen Hadrill, FRC chief executive, reminded investors that this is the first year of enhanced reporting on risk and internal control and the inclusion of a viability statement for companies which apply the UK’s corporate governance code.… Read the rest

The global Corporate Human Rights Benchmark is launched

The first-ever ranking of the world’s largest publicly listed companies on their human rights performance, the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) has been launched beginning with a pilot benchmark process. The final scores will be available in November this year.

The 2016 pilot benchmark will rank the top 100 companies in the agricultural products, apparel, and extractive industries using a rigorous methodology, developed over two years and in consultation with over 400 companies, industry associations, investors, governments, civil society representatives, academics and lawyers.… Read the rest

US proxy season looks set to be dominated by pay & diversity

Anticipation that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is due to finalise three remaining Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act compensation rules as well as recent rulings from Delaware Courts will keep executive pay in the spotlight during 2016, according to Vivien Coates of law firm, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice.… Read the rest

Hong Kong to introduce its Principles of Responsible Ownership

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has introduced voluntary principles to provide guidance on how investors should fulfil their ownership responsibilities when investing in Hong Kong listed companies.

The SFC has published revised principles and responded to a consultation it held last year on its Principles of Responsible Ownership.… Read the rest

Consultation opens on King IV report in South Africa

The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) and the King Committee are consulting on the latest King Report—King IV which expands the current corporate governance code into more non-financial reporting areas and also replaces King III’s “apply or explain” with an “apply and explain” approach.… Read the rest

Remuneration looks set to be an issue at upcoming UK AGMs

With the peak AGM season taking place in the next two months, Manifest’s analysis suggests investors may be concerned about the remuneration practices at  some of the UK’s biggest companies holding their AGMs on 14th April.

Mining company, Rio Tinto – listed in the UK and Australia – has also been struggling in the past year due to the unfavourable market conditions for metals and minerals.… Read the rest

ShareAction judges autoenrolment sustainability credentials

As automatic-enrolment workplace pensions are rolled out to more employees UK pressure group, ShareAction, which campaigns to achieve ‘an investment system that truly serves savers and communities, and protects our environment for the long term’, has produced its first benchmarking survey of the market. … Read the rest

UK boards start to take values and ethics more seriously

Audit committees are increasingly overloaded and UK companies are looking at other way to monitor corporate responsibility (CR)  and sustainability issues, according to a report published by the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE).

An IBE survey of the FTSE 350 carried out with the support of the ICSA: The Governance Institute and Mazars found that 55 companies have set up separate board-level committees to deal with CR, ethics and sustainability issues.… Read the rest