Press Roundup: Voting Trends, Lloyds

On Shareolder Voting Trends

… It shows that the average level of support for management proposals rose from 75.8% in 2006 to 84% last year. In Europe, Manifest, a shareholder-advice firm, says 97% of all shareholder votes cast in Europe last year were supportive of management….… Read the rest

Bosses’ pay and WPP

You don’t need telling that the onset of the worst global recession since the 1930s has led to a sharp rise in bankruptcies among small businesses and to hundreds of thousands of job losses.

But 2008 wasn’t especially painful for a typical chief executive of a FTSE 100 company, according to a new independent survey by Manifest, the “governance” service that advises big investors.

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In the Press: European investors balk at director pay

“Voting down Shell’s pay plan sent a chastened company back to consult over revised proposals. It also set a new high-water mark for annual meetings in a year marked by battles about pay across Europe and an increase in No votes.… Read the rest

Ireland ‘Say-on-Pay’ gathers momentum

Manifest’s campaign to ensure shareholders at Irish companies have the opportunity to cast an advisory vote on the remuneration report gathered momentum over the weekend, with a full page article in the Irish edition of The Sunday Times.  Last month Manifest filed shareholder resolutions at five Irish companies seeking an advisory say-on-pay vote.… Read the rest

Japan governance compromise likely

As investors brace themselves for a slew of Japanese AGM meetings (the overwhelming majority of AGMs seem set to be held between 23 and 26 June), a compromise has emerged between the Keidanren (Japan’s business lobby) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry over proposals to improve corporate governance.… Read the rest

Audit firms struggle to agree liability limitation agreements

Beale and Company solicitors have published research which has found that only 17% of 100 audit firms had managed to agree a contract with a client to limit their liability for damages. A report in Accountancy Age cited the research, which noted that the use of a liability limitation agreement (‘LLA’) was more prevalent among the larger audit firms.… Read the rest

US Funds go online with voting

Nine leading US pension funds have announced that they will be disclosing their voting intentions for shareholder meetings on a new web portal, ProxyDemocracy.  AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, CalPERS, CalSTRS, Calvert Investments, Christian Brothers Investment Services, Domini Social Investments, the Florida State Board of Administration, Green Century and Trillium Asset Management are making their individual proxy votes publicly available online.… Read the rest

ProxyGovernance & IRRCi research study on hybrid boards

A new study prepared by Manifest’s US partner, PROXY Governance with sponsorship by the IRRC Institute, “Effectiveness of Hybrid Boards,” analyzes 120 “hybrid boards” formed from 2005 through 2008 to evaluate their effectiveness in two areas: changes in business strategy and corporate governance structures; and changes in shareholder value measured both absolutely and relative to peers.… Read the rest

Manifest in the news: Lloyds board concerns

Reuters: Lloyds directors who did HBOS deal face scrutiny More >>
May 27, 2009

The Scotsman: Lloyds’ Kane can’t bank on support More >>
May 28, 2009

The Herald: Lloyds directors involved in HBOS deal face scrutiny More >>
May 28, 2009

Money Marketing: Lloyds chiefs set for tough re-election More >>
May 28, 2009

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Beware of Global Governance Conformance

The quest for a single set of global governance standards is misguided and investors should stop using global governance standards based on US policy approaches. That’s the conclusion of Lucian Bebchuk and Assaf Hamdani in their latest paper: “The Elusive Quest for Global Governance Standards”.… Read the rest

Driving Sustainable Carbon Markets

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change has called for urgent action to boost the effectiveness of carbon markets and the mitigation of climate change risk in developing countries in their recent report ‘Toward an Effective Global Carbon Market’.
The European group, representing over €4tr, identifies the need for strong pricing signals to further encourage investor interest in carbon markets which have grown to $110 billion last year.… Read the rest

Implementation of Shareholder Rights Directive

United Kingdom

The Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform has published a revised draft of the regulations to implement the Shareholder Rights Directive. Please send any final comments on the revised draft regulations to Kate Gillies (kate.gillies@berr.gsi.gov.uk) by Friday 29 May.… Read the rest