Stewardship Code & Governance updates: India, Nigeria

Stewardship code India: insurers published

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has published a draft stewardship code for insurers in their role as institutional investors managing funds on behalf of policyholders.

The IRDAI said: “Considering the fiduciary role played by the insurance companies as investors on behalf of the policyholders, it is felt that greater transparency is needed as regards the manner in which the investments are managed by them.Read the rest

BT accounting fraud: new controls and clawbacks expected

BT: Accounting irregularities revealed in Italian operation

Communications company BT has admitted improper accounting practices at its Italian subsidiary which resulted in overstated earnings over several years. BT is now conducting a broader review of financial processes, systems and controls across the company. BT’s remuneration committee will also consider the wider implications of the investigation. … Read the rest

Japan: sustainability reporting needs improvement

JPIF Headquarters

JPIF has high hopes of sustainability reporting

The Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) recenlty tweeted about the “excellent” integrated reporting of some of the country’s firms. However, Manifest’s analysis shows that sustainability reporting in Japan is falling short of many investors expectations.… Read the rest

WEF Davos: UN SDGs can improve global business behaviour

WEF Davos 2017 hears about SDGs

Companies should adapt their business models to be at the service of the UN’s sustainable development goals (UN SDGs) according to Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos last week.… Read the rest

Tougher investor stance on executive pay signalled for 2017

The UK’s Pension’s and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has advised its pension fund members to act more strongly on executive pay. It is advising funds oppose the re-election of the remuneration committee chair as a company director if they decide as shareholders to vote against a company’s remuneration policy.… Read the rest

Boards, investors explore better stakeholder relations

ICSA and IA guidance to support company boards to engage with stakeholders

A project to help boards understand and factor in the views of their employees and other stakeholders led by the  ICSA: The Governance Institute and the Investment Association, has been welcomed by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The project follows the lead of the government’s green paper on corporate governance reform which explores how employees and other stakeholders could be better represented at the top of UK’s listed companies.… Read the rest

US firms and investors call on Trump to tackle climate change

Lars Petersson, CEO of IKEA-USA

A coalition of 530 US companies and 100 institutional investors have called on President-elect Donald Trump and politicians in Congress to embrace a low carbon economy and tackle climate change ahead of Trump’s inauguration later this month.

In a statement, which is also addressed to the the outgoing President Obama and global leaders, the signatories said they re-affirmed their deep commitment to addressing climate change through the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.… Read the rest

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn speaks out on executive pay

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party has outlined his party’s agenda for governance reform focusing on CEO pay ratios. In a speech in Peterborough last week (10th January) Corbyn added his voice to the current debate surrounding Theresa May’s governance green paper proposals.… Read the rest

Tax transparency: EU proposals face dilution threat

Tax

Tax transparency campaigners are looking to the European Parliament to continue to have a strong stance on public tax disclosure after EU member states agreed in December on a position that weakened European Commission proposals contained in the latest draft of the  Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD).… Read the rest

UK companies need to do more to improve public trust says FRC

FRC Paul George

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has said it is ready to make further changes to the UK’s corporate governance code to reflect concerns about the role of companies within society and to improve public trust in its annual report, Developments in Corporate Governance and Stewardship 2016.… Read the rest

IIGCC appoints Peter Damgaard Jensen as chairman

Peter Damgaard Jensenof IIGCC

Peter Damgaard Jensen, chief executive of the large Danish pension fund manager PKA has become chairman of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC). Jensen took over from Donald McDonald, who has also retired from his post as a BT Pensions trustee director, at the beginning of the year.… Read the rest

US updates ESG & voting guidance for ERISA funds

Phyllis Borzl - DoL

US regulators have responded to concerns that employee pension plans have not been exercising their shareholder rights by issuing updated guidance on proxy voting for 2017.

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) agency said that it is has long believed that it is important for plan administrators to know what their responsibilities are when they vote proxies on those shares or exercise other shareholder rights.… Read the rest