SEC approves broker voting reforms, promises to look at the plumbing

In a widely anticipated move, the US Securities and Exchange Commission has moved forward with an aggressive reform program to update the US proxy system. The SEC met  today (01/07/09) to approve the New York Stock Exchange’s proposal regarding broker discretionary voting in uncontested director elections (NYSE Rule 452).… Read the rest

IRRC-I & PGI review ETF voting habits

The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and PROXY Governance Inc. have released a new in-depth analysis of the proxy voting policies and recent voting records of seven of the largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) sponsors in the US.  The findings indicate a considerable variation in the voting patterns and philosophies of these funds.… Read the rest

Cattles directors herded out

Cattles plc has announced a clear-out of its Board following the completion of a forensic review into its impairment provisions:
  • Norman Broadhurst (Chairman), who previously announced he intended to retire at the AGM, has stood down from the board with immediate effect.
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TUC demands mandatory voting disclosure by fund managers

The UK’s trade union federation, the TUC has published its 2008 fund manager voting survey and found investors wanting.

For the seventh year the TUC’s investment team has analysed the voting records of 20 fund managers and pensions funds for the period July 2007 and July 2008, which included votes on banks’ remuneration reports and the RBS acquisition of ABN Amro.… Read the rest

Financial Mail on Sunday: The Information Gap, investors here told less

Angry shareholder groups are calling on regulators to overhaul rules that mean UK companies can provide dramatically different information to investors in the U.S. and here.

Sarah Wilson, chief executive of respected shareholder advisory group Manifest, described it as ‘a system of information arbitrage’, giving superior knowledge to one group of investors over another.… Read the rest

US Chamber of Commerce debates shareholder proxy access

The US Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness conference convened this week to look at the impact of shareholder activism and shareholder rights. Two interesting themes have emerged from reports of the conference, firstly research into the impact of shareholder resolutions and secondly comments from SEC Commissioner Troy Paredes criticizing the SEC’s proposal’s for proxy access.… Read the rest

Social networking meets governance

US investors angered by the meltdown in the US financial markets have a new resource to campaign for better governance. ShareOwners.org is a social networking site based on Ning, the community web tool  said to have played a central role in the success of President Obama’s election campaign.… Read the rest

CEOs Don’t Fear the Reaper….

“He who dies with the most toys still dies” was a quote on the No Fear brand of T-shirts a few years ago. Funnily enough that saying came to mind when news of Amalgamated Bank’s shareholder proposals against “Golden Coffins” came out this week.… Read the rest

Blue Oar censure & fine raises questions about AIM ‘Nomad’ system

Concerns about the corporate governance arrangements of AIM quoted companies will no doubt raise their head again after the public censure of Blue Oar Securities, the AIM Nominated Advisor  (NOMAD) that last week changed its name to Astaire Securities.
 
Blue Oar has been fined £225,000 by the London Stock Exchange for its handling of Worthington Nicholls Group plc (now trading as Managed Support Services plc) in the period between June 6, 2006 and June 29, 2007.… Read the rest

SEC to consider broker discretionary voting

The SEC has three key governance reforms on the agenda for its  July 1 “Sunshine Act Meeting” :

Item 1: The Commission will consider whether to propose amendments to the proxy rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to set forth requirements for U.S.… Read the rest

OECD sees scope for more investor action

Following moves by US government last week to set pay limits at firms that have received TARP assistance, Mats Isaksson, OECD head of corporate affairs has given a public interview outlining the OECD’s view of the role of corporate governance and shareholders in the current financial crisis:

What are the key corporate governance lessons from the financial crisis?Read the rest

‘Unexpected reaction’ forces M&S climbdown

Today’s climbdown by Marks & Spencer, courtesy of the decision of Steve Sharp and Stuart Rose to waive part of their Performance Share Plan awards, represents a victory for shareholders. However, the root cause of the problem – an over-generous Remuneration Committee – remains unresolved.… Read the rest