FRC argues value of better engagement

Conference key note speeches came thick and fast at the ICGN’s London conference at the Guildhall this week. The three leading actors in the UK’s governance reform, Sir David Walker, Lord Myners and Sir Christopher Hogg each presented their individual perspectives to a global audience keen to hear what the UK has to offer the stewardship debate.… Read the rest

AFL-CIO Releases 2010 ‘Key Votes’

The AFL-CIO has released its key votes list for the 2010 proxy season – naming proposals at 27 companies. The key vote survey rates the voting practices of investment managers by surveying how they voted on certain proposals identified by the AFL-CIO as representing a worker-owner view of value, which emphasizes management accountability and good corporate governance.… Read the rest

Budget: Mandatory vote disclosure? Who will take hold of the wheel?

Coming so late in the life of the current parliamentary term, the City may be forgiven for already turning attention from yesterday’s budget statement to post-election budgetary announcements for substantive financial and fiscal policy developments. However, hidden in the text of yesterday’s Budget Report is a potentially highly significant statement, which could make voting disclosure a mandatory requirement.… Read the rest

Tomorrow’s (Swedish) Company

Tomorrow’s Company, the UK-based ‘think and do’ tank on successful, sustainable business yesterday launched their latest study “Tomorrow’s Corporate Governance: Bridging the UK Engagement Gap Through Swedish-style Nomination Committees”, at the opening of the ICGN mid-year conference at the Guildhall in London.… Read the rest

Pay czar revisits deals for TARP execs

US pay czar Kenneth Feinberg has announced that a number of the highest-paid executives at bailed out companies will have their remuneration cut by an average of 15 percent this year.

Cash salaries will be set at $500,000 or less for 82 percent of the executives named in the ruling which takes in the top 25 highest paid staffer at each TARP company.… Read the rest

Barnier eyes up pan-European ownership regulation

The prospect of new regulation at the ownership end of corporate governance mechanisms in Europe is beginning to take shape.

The new Member of the European Commission responsible for Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, has recently been making increasingly clear his views on the future directon of regulation in response to criticism of the role of shareholders prior to the financial crisis.… Read the rest

Investors can do more says Dutch investor group

Insitutional investors can shape the governance debate more effectively by integrating ownership into their mainstream investment activiites according to a new position paper published by Eumedion, the Dutch shareholders group.

As the paper points out, the focus around the publication of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code in 2003 was on reinforcing the legal position of shareholders.… Read the rest

UBS: Director liability discharges on the agenda

UBS has confirmed that it will be seeking a formal liability discharge at next month’s AGM for the board members and senior executives involved in the bank’s management during the financial crisis.

No liability discharge resolution has been proposed for the past two financial years due to ongoing internal and external investigations into the multi-billion dollar write-offs the company was forced to make.… Read the rest

Minority shareholder rights in the spotlight

Are some European issuers trying to avoid playing fair with their minority shareholders? With the news that USS and Hermes have now tendered their Océ shares after the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeals rejected the pension funds’ request to investigate Canon’s tender offer, shareholders might be left wondering what they can do to protect their interests.… Read the rest

US proxy season – contested elections and Euro activists

Euro investor activism at US firms continues

International pension funds appear ready to continue to pressure U.S. companies to appoint independent board chairs, a leadership structure now commonly adopted by European boards but still relatively rare in the United States. According to research by Proxy Governance  only 25% of U.S.… Read the rest

Pension funds respond to call for joined up governance

“Where were the shareholders?” has not been far from the lips of global regulators, media and the general public over the past two years. While some funds have jibbed at the idea of become more closely involved in the stewardship of their equity assets, two of the UK’s largest pension funds are taking matters into their own hands.… Read the rest

Battle for proxy reform heats up – advisors in the spotlight

RiskMetrics is to governance as Microsoft is to Internet browsers: discuss.

No, not the next MBA dissertation topic for students to grapple with – but it’s certainly worth a thought. And that’s not just Manifest’s view either. Two members of the US lobby alliance, the Shareholder Communications Coalition, have issued a discussion document looking at the role of Proxy Advisory Services.… Read the rest