European Commission proposes changes to EU’s prospectus rules

The European Commission has released proposals which it says will improve access to finance for companies and simplify the information provided for investors. The Commission is making changes to the Prospectus Directive, originally adopted in 2003 and last revised six years ago.… Read the rest

Governance is critical to driving company value

Corporate governance is a critical factor in understanding company value and it drives investment performance according to a global survey of 293 financial services decision-makers commissioned by Aberdeen Asset Management.

Corporate governance emerged as the most important matter on which asset managers should engage the companies in which they invest, with strong support also for engagement on remuneration, corporate actions and environmental and social issues.… Read the rest

Slow increase in women on company boards in California

There has been a steady improvement in the number of women directors in California’s top 400 public companies according to research by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

California is a major force within the US economy and and the survey includes many global corporate giants such as Apple, Chevron, Intel, Visa, Google, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle — which together have a total stock market value of nearly $5 trillion.… Read the rest

Fossil fuel firms risk destroying investor returns think tank warns

State representatives, NGOs and UN agencies will be meeting in Paris from next Monday (November 30) for the latest global summit aimed at tackling climate change. In the run up to COP-21, new research is being published by a variety of organisations looking at the  key issues facing policymakers as they seek to agree a global climate treaty by the end of the conference on December 11th.Read the rest

The key to good disclosure is the cost of extracting the value

The recent decision by the SEC to adopt a CEO-to-median pay ratio disclosure rule in the US was a near run thing. The SEC commissioners were split on the issue. The vehement opposition to ratio disclosure expressed in the 5 year gap between Dodd Frank legislation and SEC rule adoption has found a new channel.… Read the rest

UK Government steps away from regulating on trustees fiduciary duties

The UK government has decided against regulating for pension trustees in order to help them distinguish between financial and non-financial factors in their investments believing that guidance now exists to assist trustees.

The announcement followed a government consultation on specific recommendations contained in a Law Commission report into the fiduciary duties of investment intermediaries that was published last year.… Read the rest

Equal Pay Day Diversity Update

To coincide with Equal Pay Day (Nov 5) Women’s pay and the lack of women in senior company roles have again been in the news.

The Fawcett Society Employers invited employers to take the Pay Gap Pledge after calculating that from November 9 women were effectively working for free until the end of the year when compared with the pay that men receive.… Read the rest

Dimonising Business

On 20th May it was announced that five of the world’s largest banks are to pay fines totaling $3.6bn for charges which include manipulation of the foreign exchange market. These fines are a new high (low?) watermark for regulatory penalties imposed on financial sector companies but it is notable that news headlines about the fines focused on the record size of the fines rather than the fact that the regulators (including US, UK and Swiss authorities) had been forced to take action.… Read the rest

UK unitary boards – the beginning of the end?

The  announcement by FTSE 100 copper miner Antofagasta that there will no longer be any executive directors on its board means the unitary board system is no longer synonymous with UK corporate governance and is a first for a UK listed company (investment trusts aside).… Read the rest

Proxy access – war war not jaw jaw

The US proxy access debate took a fresh turn recently with the attempt by seasoned governance commentator James McRitchie (www.corpgov.net) to get a shareholder proposal on the ballot at US organic food retailer Wholefoods. He submitted a proposal under which one or more shareholders owning 3% or more of outstanding shares for at least three years could “account for 20% of directors through proxy access”.… Read the rest

Scandi Jet Drama

Reporting of the abuse of corporate jet use by top management at Sweden’s largest companies has focused attention on the internecine links between Sweden’s top investors and largest public companies
Svenska Dagbladet the Swedish newspaper has reported that Swedish forestry company SCA has been using several private jets to fly top managers and wives and children to an SCA-owned hunting lodge in northern Sweden, the Olympics in London and the European football championships in Kiev.… Read the rest