New Institutional Investor Council for UK?

The prospect of a new Stewardship Code appears to have re-ignited fresh enthusiasm for collaborative governance with the Institutional Shareholders Committee (ISC) announcing its intention to form a new body, to be called the Institutional Investor Council. The grand aim of the ISC creating the IIC is to “build a single voice for the institutional investor community and strengthen its profile”.… Read the rest

easyJet founder turns activist shareholder

British boardroom structures don’t allow enough debate, claims Sir Stelios HajiIoannou, founder and majority shareholder of the low-cost carrier, easyJet. As a result he has quit his board role to become an activist shareholder in a bid to turn the company’s strategy around.… Read the rest

AGM turnout holds steady – pay still key issue

While the AGM season is now mostly behind us as far as the biggest European blue chips are concerned, it’s now the turn of the mid-caps to face their shareholders. A quick review of the data so far shows that overall turnout, based on 74 of the top 100 UK meetings is holding steady at 68% (2009: 67%).… Read the rest

US Meeting Spotlight

The proxy season is far from over, writes Allie Monaco, Head of Research at ProxyGovernance. In the last two weeks of May, nearly 170 shareholder proposals will come to a vote at 75 U.S. companies. Of these proposals, 35% relate to social and environmental issues (including climate change, sustainability, and political contributions); 25% deal with takeover defenses (eliminate classified boards, eliminate supermajority vote, allow shareholders to call special meetings); 25% are compensation-related (say on pay, equity retention); and 15% are on board-related matters (majority vote to elect directors, appoint independent board chairs).… Read the rest

US Say on Pay debate rumbles on

The Say on Pay continues to play out at US annual meetings this year – both in terms of management and shareholder proposals. Here are a few highlights prepared by Allie Monaco of ProxyGovernance:

  • Two management say on pay proposals were defeated at meetings last week.
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Voting failures hit the High Street

So it’s not just shareholder meetings that have voting problems. The UK’s general election collapsed into the realms of farce this week with disenfranchised voters complaining of lost ballot cards, out of date voting registers and exclusion from polling stations – now where have we heard those complaints before?… Read the rest

The vote for audit quality

Next week’s vote on the appointment of KPMG plc at Rentokil (15 May) looks to be more than usually interesting. While the cut price deal struck by KPMG offers a 30% headline discount, concerned investors are questioning the real hidden costs of blurring lines of accountability to management on the one hand and the real audit client – shareholders.… Read the rest

Investor Relations professionals seek Stewardship Code role

The UK’s Investor Relations Society is seeking to put its members at the heart of the governance role according to a guidance consultation published this week.  The consultation is the Society’s response to the FRC’s own consultation on the UK Governance Code and the Stewardship Code. … Read the rest

US shareholder proposals in the spotlight

Nearly 180 shareholder proposals will come to a vote at 102 U.S. companies holding shareholder meetings between May 1 and May 15. Of these proposals, 35% relate to social and environmental issues (including, among others, climate change, sustainability, and political contributions); 25% deal with takeover defenses

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Overseas owners prompt audit rethink

The increasing foreign ownership of UK companies is forcing the UK’s reporting watchdog the FRC rethink the role of audit and market oversight.

Stephen Haddrill, chief executive of  the Financial Reporting Council, speaking to senior finance figures this week said that  he would canvass opinion on the adequacy of the audit report, whether there needs to be more assurance around risks and if auditors can open dialogue with investors.… Read the rest

ASX Governance Code under review, calls for more female directors

The Australian Corporate Governance Code is up for review. Under the auspices of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), a number of amendments are under consideration, most notably improved disclosures about gender diversity and executive pay.

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Mercer strengthens Responsible Investment unit

Will Oulton is leaving his role as director of Responsible Investment at FTSE Group to join Mercer’s investment consulting business as European Head of Responsible Investment.

Oulton will start his new role at Mercer in May when he replaces Emma Hunt, Mercer’s former head of responsible investment for Europe who left to join rival advisor Towers Watson in February.… Read the rest