AIM consults on pay disclosure

London Stock Exchange this week announced a consultation on the AIM Rules a which is open until 15 January 2010. The proposals will see all AIM companies obliged to disclose details of directors’ remuneration on an individual basis, as the rules catch up with the actual practice of most leading AIM companies.… Read the rest

ABI tweaks to executive remuneration guidelines don’t go far enough

The 2009 update to the ABI Guidelines on Executive Remuneration will be a disappointment to many investors. The amended guidelines fail to deal with some of the key structural deficiencies in executive pay practice and guidance – a contributory factor to the downturn – although the ABI has inserted 53 words to emphasis the need to take risks fully into account when devising pay policies and practices.… Read the rest

Shareholders have to get out there and vote

David Wighton of The Times writes about the problems of low turnout at shareholder meetings. “Shareholders have to get out there and vote” describes the problems facing Minerva, the property company fighting off a bid from 29.9 per cent shareholder Nathan Kirsh, and Mitchells & Butler, the UK’s biggest pub company, which claims that a concert party is “bent on wresting control of the group”.… Read the rest

The vexed question of bonuses – is there a better way?

As shareholders are asked to get more involved with executive pay monitoring, the problem for many investors is how to judge what is reasonable – traditional bonus plans have resulted in plans which are not aligned with performance. Basing bonuses on stock prices exposes them to external factors, including irrational behaviour that can also influence stock prices.… Read the rest

Big 4 Auditors under pressure: cross-selling persists

Shareholders don’t like it, nor do the regulators. It’s expressively forbidden to be included in appraisals. Unfortunately, evidence uncovered by the Financial Reporting Council’s Audit Inspection Unit (AIU) shows that the controversial practice of selling non-audit services to audit clients is alive and well, threatening the independence of  audits.… Read the rest

How ready are you for climate change?

RailPen would very much like to know what their fund managers are doing to address this key sustainability issue. And to help them with their review, they have worked with HSBC and Linklaters to develop a 77 question Risk Audit covering a four broad topics: legal, investment strategy, client demand issues and asset categories.… Read the rest

ASX Corporate Governance Principles to be updated

The ASX Corporate Governance Council has released a communiqué on its recent work programme and it proposal to make changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations (‘the ASX Code’) with an expected implementation date from 1 July 2010.

Following the publication of the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) earlier in 2009 of a report on board diversity, there will be a number of new recommendations included in the ASX Code:

  • Each listed entity recommended to establish a diversity policy that includes measurable objectives relating to gender as set by the board of the entity, with the policy to be disclosed in full or in summary;
  • Each listed entity recommended to disclose in its annual report its achievement against the gender objectives set by the board of the entity.
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Major US governance reforms move forwards

The US is moving forward with a series of comprehensive financial reforms in a new bill, “The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009”. In 1,279 pages, the new bill pulls together a total of six reform proposals which had been introduced individually over the course of recent months.… Read the rest

India sees draft corporate governance code published

India’s review of corporate governance prompted by the Satyam scandal is now expected to result in the issue of corporate governance guidelines by the end of December, according to India’s Corporate Affairs Minister, Salman Khurshid. The guidelines are expected to be voluntary for the first year and are expected to cover issues such as directors’ remuneration, appointment of independent directors and their responsibilities and auditor’s liability.… Read the rest

CalSTRS endorses Stewardship Code

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), the second largest public pension fund in the United States, has endorsed the Stewardship Code for institutional investors, becoming the first US-based fund to back the policy, which it called a “standard for good corporate governance.”

The Stewardship Code, for which the FRC is to take reponsibility for following the recommendation of the Walker Review, was previously under the auspices of the ISC.… Read the rest

Feisty Goodman Group AGM

With the AGM season for June-year end companies in Australia now all but complete, one of the last meetings of the season proved to be one of the most contentious in terms of shareholder voting. Shareholders at Goodman Group opposed the re-election of Jim Sloman in large numbers, with 42.2% of votes cast against.… Read the rest

French bill seeks gender parity on boards

President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party yesterday introduced a Bill into the French Parliament which seeks to ensure gender balance in boards of directors within five years, with an interim target of 20% within 18 months.

The Bill provides for a gradual implementation of the obligation for gender parity on boards of directors of listed companies.… Read the rest