Australia’s Future Fund sends a message on pay as more remuneration reports defeated

The Australian Future Fund,  established in 2006 to assist future Australian governments meet the cost of public sector superannuation liabilities, has released its 2009/10 annual report. The report reveals for the first time how the Fund has cast its voting rights at shareholder meetings in Australia, having taken its voting at domestic meetings in-house in September 2009.… Read the rest

Centamin Egypt evades AGM remuneration report vote

Centamin Egypt, the Australian incorporated gold mining company which entered the FTSE 250 index in June 2010, will hold its AGM on 9 November in London. At its 2009 AGM the remuneration report vote was defeated, however shareholders will not get an opportunity to vote on the remuneration report in 2010.… Read the rest

SRI market pushes the accountability debate

The last couple of years have clearly been times of great opportunity for the promotion of responsible investment in general, and the Eurosif 2010 survey figures show a significant uptick in European SRI assets under management, now at €5 trilllion

The survey, presented at a joint event hosted by  CA Cheuvreux and UKSIF, also shows the high level of diversity in SRI investment across Europe, as well as between Europe and the US.… Read the rest

Investors staying off the radar

The recent concept release on the US proxy system has certainly brought some interesting challenges and concerns to the debate. A recent set of concerns from an investment advisor provoked some thoughts at Manifest about privacy, identification and equal treatment (i.e.… Read the rest

UK to investigate take-overs, long termism, better governance

Vince Cable, the UK’s Secretary of State for Business used the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference to launch an an investigation into possible failures of market and corporate governance which have discouraged a long-term approach to investment.  The paper, ‘A Long Term Focus for Corporate Britain’, is looking for input on a wide range of questions: the problems of short-termism, investor engagement, directors’ remuneration and – following on from last week’s announcement by the Takeover Panel – the economic case for takeovers.… Read the rest

Canadian proxy system flawed say lawyers

The Canadian proxy voting system is fundamentally flawed says Canadian law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. In a forthcoming white paper the firm has, in its words: “uncloaked the mystery surrounding the proxy voting system in Canada.”  

Canadian proxy voting is circuitous and results in complicated communications between issuers and investors that lack transparency and accountability.… Read the rest

UK companies to be protected from protracted bids

The UK’s M&A regulator, The Takeover Panel has concluded that the regime for hostile bids needs revision. Calls for a radical overhaul of the British approach to takeovers were made following the heated Kraft/Cadbury deal earlier this year.
The Panel has rejected some of the more far reaching proposals mooted at the time but has conceded that target companies need to be able to defend themselves from protracted “virtual bids”.… Read the rest

SEC consults on “say on pay” regulations

The SEC is seeking investor input on its proposals to give shareholders a non-binding vote on executive compensation and some “golden parachute” severance arrangements.

Under the proposed rules, publicly traded companies would have to provide shareholders with an advisory vote on executive pay and seek input from shareholders as to how frequently the say on pay vote will take place. … Read the rest

European SRI market in good shape

Despite the slowdown in economic growth over the last two years, the European market for socially responsible investment (SRI) market has almost doubled since 2008, and is now worth in the region of €5trn in assets under management.

The findings, from Eurosif’s 2010 European SRI Study, highlight the scale of the European SRI Market as well as European and National Trends across nineteen countries, including for the first time the Baltic States, Poland, Greece and Cyprus.… Read the rest

AIC updates governance code

The  UK’s Association of Investment Companies (AIC) has published it’s latest Code of Corporate Governance for investment companies together with associated guidance. The new guides bring the AIC Code up to date with the the new UK Corporate Governance Code, the UK Stewardship Code and changes to the listing regime.… Read the rest

US Boards: John or Robert? Yes. Jane? No.

Gender Diversity in the US Boardroom

Female representation on U.S. corporate boards has not changed significantly over the last 10 years. Women make up just 12.7% of directorships in the S&P 1500 (based on board composition as of the 2010 annual meeting).… Read the rest

US business group sues SEC for enhancing shareholder rights

While the Securities & Exchange Commission is busy with its implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, business lobby groups are attempting to derail attempts to give the owners of US corporations similar rights to those they enjoy overseas.… Read the rest