US investors get say on pay

 The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill  was voted through by both the House of Representatives and Senate by 237-192 and 60-39 respectively. The legislation is now expected to be signed into law by President Obama as early as this week. 

The passage of the bill is particularly significant for the corporate governance community which worked together to ensure that potentially crippling riders on proxy access were omitted from the final text.… Read the rest

EU warns on board diversity

The threat of quotas to improve board diversity moved a step closer last week with EU Fundamental Rights Commissioner Viviane Reding telling the European parliament: “Equality in decision-making is not yet a fact … I do not rule out the possibility of putting forward legislation in this area.”

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper her spokesman , Matthew Newman, said that the Luxembourgeois commissioner is “giving companies a year to sort out imbalances.… Read the rest

SEC gets to grips with proxy plumbing

Fair corporate suffrage is an important right that should attach to every equity security
Source: United States Congress, 1934

There’s no small irony that the first shareholder voting regulations were introduced in the aftermath of ‘The Great Crash’. Now, another market collapse has brought regulators full circle and owners of US companies finally have their chance to realign their economic and ownership rights.

Read the rest

SEC Proxy Plumbing concept release next week

The US Securities and Exchange Commission looks set to debate its “concept release” on the mechanics of the US proxy system next week.  According to an SEC announcement, the commission is scheduled to meet on July 14 at 10am to vote on the “concept release” seeking public comment on how to enhance the “efficiency and integrity” of the shareholder vote. … Read the rest

Irish Corporate Governance Code consultation opened

A consultation paper has been published by the Irish Stock Exchange in which it proposes the introduction of an Irish Corporate Governance Code, a draft copy of which has been published. The proposed Code supplements the existing Combined Code (being renamed the UK Corporate Governance Code) with some of the key recommendations of the report commissioned by the Irish Stock Exchange and the Irish Association of Investment Managers, published earlier in 2010.… Read the rest

UKSIF contemplates 10 years of SRI disclosures

Friends of the UK Sustainable Investment Forum (UKSIF) gathered at the Houses of Parliament on June 28th to celebrate the 10th anniversary of of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) regulation in the UK. UKSIF also launched a report that reflects upon the effects of the regulation and addresses important next steps for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues over the next 10 years.… Read the rest

Investors (and advisors) get their own code

The UK has offered a new template for global governance with the introduction of the first formal code of conduct for investors. Under the watchful eye of the Financial Reporting Council, it is hoped that the Stewardship code will, as Chairman Baroness Hogg said: “be a catalyst for better engagement between shareholders and companies and create a stronger link between governance and the investment process”.… Read the rest

Peer Groups & Pay, new research from PGI and IIRCi

PROXY Governance and the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRCi) today released a new study, “Compensation Peer Groups at Companies with High Pay” that identifies a subset of S&P 500 companies with high pay that is not aligned with high performance.… Read the rest

SEC ready to review US proxy plumbing

Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission is a step closer to straightening out America’s proxy plumbing. In a speech made at the Stanford University Law School Directors College on June 20th, Schapiro outlined the Commission’s current thinking.

“the Commission will soon consider publishing a concept release soliciting detailed ideas about how to modernize the voting infrastructure through which, I am told, over 600 billion shares are voted every year at more than 10,000 public company shareholder meetings.Read the rest

US financial reform horse trading hits investors

As elected representatives in the US enter the final stages of merging the two competing financial services reform bills, investors are becoming increasingly anxious that their key reform proposal, access to the proxy, will be rendered useless.

From the outset, both the House and Senate versions of the reform bills have either supported or required the SEC to adopt some form of proxy access, leaving it will be up to the SEC to decide on the implementation details. … Read the rest

Companies Move to Block New Remuneration Disclosure Requirements in Brazil

Reaction to the new remuneration disclosure requirements set out by the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil, or “CVM”), have been mixed, ranging from full and immediate compliance to complete revolt – with some companies filing lawsuits challenging the legality of the new provisions.… Read the rest

Wyser-Pratte challenges outcome of Lagardère AGM

The activist shareholder Guy Wyser-Pratte has challenged the outcome of the AGM of Lagardère, held on 27 April, and requested the French market regulator, the AMF, to verify the procedures for the transmission of the votes submitted to the meeting.

In a letter dated 8 June 2010, Wyser-Pratte states that he has serious doubts about the validity of the result and asserts that the votes of many overseas shareholders were not counted.… Read the rest