Fortis Shareholder Revolt

The Fortis shareholders’ meeting in Ghent, Belgium was stopped for half an hour, according to Radio Netherlands, after the Tuesday meeting descended into chaos. Shareholders angry at the proposed sale of Fortis Bank to French BNP Paribas threw shoes, coins and ballot boxes at management and demanded the board’s resignation.… Read the rest

SEC ponders proxy reform, SCC responds

The Shareholder Communications Coalition sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, April 24, 2009 in response to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which suggested that the Commission may approve an amendment to New York Stock Exchange Rule 452 at staff level, instead of having the amendment considered by the full Commission at a public meeting.… Read the rest

Revealed: bosses’ huge pension pots

The Observer, Sunday 26 April 2009
Retirement top-up deals promise £1m a year to Britain’s leading executives despite the downturn as the gap between bosses and workers widens.

The research into the pensions of chief executives of stockmarket-listed companies was commissioned by the Observer and comes from benefits consultancy MM&K and investor agency Manifest.… Read the rest

FairPensions research highlights ESG gaps

FairPensions, the UK-based campaign for responsible investment has published its 3rd annual survey of pension funds and their ESG arrangements.

The headline findings are that although major UK pension funds are now acknowledging the potential of ‘non-financial’ issues to affect the value of investments, many still lack key strategies to manage these risks.… Read the rest

PCCW proxy ballot irregularities kill buyout

Hong Kong is not generally noted for its progressive corporate governance regime. Critics have argued that its weak regulatory system has long favoured powerful tycoons. However, in a rare and dramatic turn of events, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has won its fight at the Court of Appeal to block PCCW chairman Richard Li’s $US2.1 billion buyout to take the company private.… Read the rest

Pershing Square throws wrinkle into Target proxy fight

As if proxy fights don’t have enough drama, the New York Times’ DealBook reports that a new fight is brewing between a Pershing Square dissident nominee for a seat on the board at Target Corp. and the company. The nominee, Ronald Gilson, a law professor at Stanford, has proposed the use of a so-called universal proxy ballot – where all nominees appear on a single ballot – in an April 21 letter to the company.… Read the rest

Agius against vote highest for FTSE 100 Chairman in over five years

The Times sources Manifest data today in it’s report on the Barclays AGM. The vote against the Chairman was the largest against vote recorded on the election of a FTSE 100 Chairman during the last five years. Some 16.14% of votes cast were against his re-election, while a further 0.92% of those voting abstained.… Read the rest

Hellenic Exchanges seek re-pricing of underwater options

Just a year after approving a new share option programme, shareholders at Hellenic Exchanges (ATH:EXAE) are being asked at their AGM on 6 May to approve the repricing of share options granted during 2008.

The options were originally granted at an exercise price of €11.76, with one third vesting annually from the first anniversary of grant.… Read the rest

Cross-border voting: breaking the chain of intermediaries

The EU has taken another step forward in its financial services reform agenda and launched a consultation on the harmonisation of the legal framework surrounding securities transactions and share holding functions.

European finance and economy ministers (ECOFIN) have asked the European Commission to put forward legislative proposals to increase legal certainty and efficiency of securities holdings and improve protection of shareholders’ rights.… Read the rest

Belgium tightens governance code

Belgium has announced an update to its 2004 comply or explain corporate governance code. The new code attempts to deal with some of the issues flagged up by the current economic crisis with a particular emphasis on  say on pay disclosures.… Read the rest

A new vocabulary for proxy voting: ‘Comply or Explain’, ‘Best Execution’, ‘Accountability’

Last week the European Sustainable Investment Forum, Eurosif, published a Public Policy Position Paper on Sustainable and Responsible Investment . It calls upon the European Commission to adopt measures facilitating the exercise of shareholder rights and transparency.

Haven’t we been here before?… Read the rest

Eddington concerns resonate with shareholders

Ahead of the Rio Tinto AGMs, Manifest flagged up its concerns regarding the re-election of Sir Roderick Eddington in our meeting business report. Manifest’s US partners, Proxy Governance, issued an ‘against’ recommendation on his re-election.

The results of the voting the AGMs in London and Sydney have now been released.… Read the rest