Exec Pay: Aussie Rules gets tough but fair

Australia is proposing some innovative steps to address concerns about executive pay. This week, the Productivity Commission released a detailed discussion document outlining a series of reforms which it hopes will  improve board accountability, remove conflicts of interest and enhance shareholder engagement on remuneration.… Read the rest

Luxembourg publishes revised governance code

The  Luxembourg Stock Exchange has published a revised edition of its Ten Principles of Corporate Governance for listed companies. The new code has maintained the original structure of the ten principles by continuing to rely on three sets of rules: principles (“comply”); recommendations (“comply or explain”); and finally guidelines.… Read the rest

Norges Bank pushes four companies for independent chairs

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the investment arm of the Norwegian central bank and asset manager for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund and the Government Petroleum Insurance Fund managing over NOK1,000bn (£107bn) in equity investments, has filed shareholder proposals at four US companies calling for independent chairmanship.Read the rest

British banks agree to G20 bonus curbs

After weeks of will they, won’t they and political horse-trading Britain’s top banks have committed to implement the remuneration reforms agreed by the G20 in Pittsburgh.

The five banks, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered – have confirmed their commitment to comply with the Financial Services Authority’s remuneration rules, which comes into force on 1 January 2010. … Read the rest

Malaysia: good principles, weak implementation

Ken Rushton, former head of the listings review at UK regulator the Financial Services Authority, has challenged Malaysia’s corporate governance regime. Speaking at the Corporate Governance Summit 2009 he outlined his concerns about the discrepancies between the regulatory principles and their practical implementation.… Read the rest

Iraqi Stock Exchange considers governance

The Iraqi Stock Exchange (ISX) is making preparations to launch a corporate governance project and to create an online trading presence, the executive director of the stock market has announced. “A corporate governance project will be carried out through appropriate legislation that regulates the company’s administration, responsibilities and duties…,” Taha Ahmed Abdulsalam told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.… Read the rest

ITV listens to shareholders

The Nominations Committee of the Board of ITV plc has terminated its discussions with CEO candidate Tony Ball, bringing to an end the speculation about a potential £30 million salary package.

In a regulatory news announcement published at 12:36pm today (25th Sept 2009) the Committee said that it had “negotiated exhaustively with Mr Ball, and throughout has been fully cognisant of, and responsive to, the views of its shareholders.”

The announcement flagged up just how massive the gulf was between each parties expectations as the company admitted “a number substantial differences, including a failure to finally agree contractual arrangements, together with a disagreement over the future Chairmanship.”

Some in the market appear to have been caught unaware by the revelation that ITV chairman Michael Grade will also be standing down from his role as executive chairman.… Read the rest

NASDAQ looks for input on comply or explain

The NASDAQ Hearing and Listing Review Council is soliciting comments from companies, investors and other interested parties about whether it should adopt a “Comply or Explain” approach to corporate governance practices similar to that used in a number of non-U.S. markets writes Scott Fenn of Manifest’s US partners, ProxyGovernance Inc.… Read the rest

EU bid for regulatory limelight

As G20 leaders convene in the USA this week, the European Commission has announced its plans to create a tougher financial regulation framework for EU member states. “This European system can also inspire a global one and we will argue for that in Pittsburgh,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.… Read the rest

Ryanair directors receive almost double average dissent

Shareholders have today seen an early benefit of the recently implemented Shareholder Rights Directive, as Ryanair finally disclosed the voting results of one of its AGMs for the benefit of those shareholders unable to attend the meeting in person. Earlier this month, Ryanair was the subject of a complaint by Manifest to the Irish Stock Exchange for its failure to disclose its non-compliance (or any explanations for non-compliance) with provision D.2.2 of the Combined Code (relating to the results of the AGM voting at their 2008 and 2007 AGMs) in their annual reports for the last two years.… Read the rest

Change to Pre-emption Guidelines urgently required

British investors take their pre-emption rights very seriously – and rightly so. However, the trickle of UK companies trampling over these precious rights is threatening to become a flood as “cash-box” placings become ubiquitous.

Cash-box placings channel capital raised through an offshore companies (generally located in Jersey or Guernsey).… Read the rest

ITV & The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

Life is full of strange coincidences. As the mobile phone rang on Sunday morning with a question from a journalist about Tony Ball turning down a proposed £20 million package to take the hot seat at ITV, I happened to be reading a review of Rakesh Khurana’s 2002 book “The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs”.… Read the rest