Banks move to scale back socially responsible investing

Several banks are cutting back their analysis of companies’ socially responsible policies, according to Thomson Reuters, which does a regular survey of equity analysts …… Sarah Wilson, the chief executive of shareholder adviser Manifest, was more concerned about the impact of the financial crisis on responsible investing and good corporate governance.… Read the rest

Bank shareholders flex their muscles

Shareholders in European banks are making their presence felt after being criticised for their failure to raise the alarm over risky practices or oppose management in the period before the financial crisis. The average proportion of shares represented at the annual meetings of 12 of Europe’s largest banks rose from 46% last year to 52% this year, according to data prepared by proxy voting agency Manifest for Financial News.… Read the rest

Lloyds: One-third of non-Government shareholders fail to support Blank

The results of the voting at the AGM and GM of Lloyds Banking Group held today have now been released by the Company and show that, after the Government holding of 7,277,204,386 shares is excluded, over a third of the remaining shareholders who cast their votes at the AGM failed to vote in favour of the re-election of Chairman, Victor Blank.… Read the rest

EU-wide obligations for custodians?

Manifest responds to the European Commission consultation on potential legislation covering the processing of rights flowing from securities by “securities accounts providers” (largely, custodians).

Ever prior to the Shareholder’s Rights Directive publication 2007, Manifest has highlighted that the role of intermediaries in the chain is just as important, if not more so, in enabling shareholders to exercise their voting rights.… Read the rest

ISC sees scope for better governance

According to a new paper published today by the Institutional Shareholders Committee (ISC), UK investors have been too reluctant to make better tactical use engagement and voting and is looking for ways to make it easier for investors to come together to share their concerns.… Read the rest

Consultation opens regarding pay at Swiss financial institutions

The Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has opended the consultation period for the Circular on Remuneration Systems, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2010.

The Circular will have a direct impact on the remuneration systems of the financial institutions concerned.… Read the rest

Shareholders: “No action, No option” says Watson Wyatt

“We believe that active ownership can help enhance long-term shareholder value and are therefore supportive of pension funds being more active.”
That’s the message from a recent study published Watson Wyatt U.K., “No Action No Option,”  which concludes that pension funds worldwide will come under increasing pressure to use their ownership rights to push for improved corporate governance.… Read the rest

Manifest publishes Total Remuneration Survey 2009

Manifest’s annual review of executive remuneration trendshas now been published and has received a positive response from a variety of market commentators including Robert Peston for BBC’s News at 10 and the BBC World Service’s European Business News.

 This year’s survey has been extended to included pensions data as well as detailed narrative on trends for both large cap and small cap companies.… Read the rest

Sustainable Pensions Progress Report

New research from the UK Social Investment Forum (UKSIF) highlights “clear and exciting evidence” that a group of Responsible Investment (RI) champions is beginning to emerge among UK corporate pension funds. Three quarters of repeat respondents achieved a higher score this year than in 2007 and, according to the report, the driving force behind the change is coming from trustee leadership.… Read the rest

SEC taps investors for input

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro has announced the creation of new advisory committee which is intended to give investors a greater opportunity for input on the Commission’s reform program.

SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar is the primary sponsor of the 18-person committee which will cover a broad work plan, including: 

  1. Advising the Commission on matters of concern to investors in the securities markets;
  2. Providing the Commission with investors’ perspectives on current, non-enforcement, regulatory issues; and
  3. Serving as a source of information and recommendations to the Commission regarding the Commission’s regulatory programs from the point of view of investors.
Read the rest

Historic Royal Dutch Shell settlement with non-US shareholders

Royal Dutch Shell is to pay $381 million plus interest to a foundation representing over 150 institutional investors in nineteen countries. The settlement, following a binding declaration by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals, is considered to be a milestone, given that European courts lack a class action mechanism for pursuing securities fraud claims.… Read the rest

Big protest vote at Tomkins AGM

At today’s AGM of Tomkins plc (FTSE 250 constituent), only 38.8% of shareholders voted in favour of the remuneration report resolution. Measured in terms of dissent (61.2%), the rebellion against the remuneration report ranks just outside the top ten all-time for such resolutions, however the resolution did manage to pass.… Read the rest