Code of Conduct for Proxy Advisors

The Millstein Center for Corporate Governance and Performance at the Yale School of Management has made a series of proposals to boost transparency among institutional investors and the proxy voting services that advise them. In addition to investor transparency about policy, engagement; voting resources and tactics, the Center is also proposing a code of professional conduct for proxy services.… Read the rest

Dutch Finance Minister Bos Slams Shareholders

Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos today hit out at shareholders for doing ‘virtually nothing’ to prevent the current financial crisis.

Speaking to the International Corporate Governance conference in Amsterdam, Bos used the platform as an opportunity to make a forthright attack on the role of shareholders in the current financial crisis: “The financial crisis is more than one-and-a-half years old.… Read the rest

Eastern Europe Governance Disclosures Decline

The East West Management Institute (EWMI) has released the latest findings of its semi-annual survey of online investor relations of the ten largest listed company by market cap in 11 Central and Eastern European Countries. According to research assistant, Igor Solodovnik, the results show a disappointing decrease in disclosure standards across all the categories surveyed.… Read the rest

SEC moves to block broker votes

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has moved a step closer to approving the New York Stock Exchange’s Rule 452 proposal to eliminate broker discretionary voting in director elections.  This proposal was developed by the Exchange’s Proxy Working Group in 2006.… Read the rest

Xstrata shareholders hit the ballots

It’s lucky for Xstrata that it’s listed in the UK rather than France otherwise their EGM results announcement would have a different story to tell about the level of shareholder unhappiness at yesterday’s meeting to approve the Glencore deal. Put another way, shareholders didn’t lend the overwhelming support to Xstrata’s proposals that the company would like you to think.… Read the rest

UK Rights Issues – New Subscription Periods

The UK’s FSA has moved swiftly to address the market’s concerns about rights issues  timetable problems. Until mid-February 2009 the Listing Rules’ required a 21 day subscription period; this has now been reduced to 10 business days.

The new subscription is a minimum subscription period and applies only to non-statutory rights issues (i.e.… Read the rest

Japanese Proxy Agency Founder Dies

Manifest is very sad to report the passing of Miss Kuny Kobayashi, the founder of Governance Visions, a Japanese proxy voting agency. We first got to know Kuny during Manifest’s partnership with IRRC and we were impressed with her determination to reform the governance and proxy problems in the Japanese market.… Read the rest

Wall Street Meltdown…

Let it not be said that the world of shareholder oversight and fiscal prudence is without its lighter moments. Here are two offerings from YouTube contributor LMcDuff with a musical take on the demise of the US financial system.

Wall Street Meltdown is his first offering and chronicles the financial crisis as it developed duing 2007 to the backdrop of Billy Joel’s 1989 hit single “We didn’t start the fire”.… Read the rest

FSA Code of Practice for Remuneration

The FSA’s new  draft code of remuneration code of practice has put good governance front and centre by insisting that remuneration is tied to effective risk management. The proposed policy is a follow-up to the letters written to the CEOs of FSA authorised companies in October 2008.… Read the rest

The market is dead, long live the market

Nick Hassel in The Times commented earlier this month: “The stock market has been declared dead many times before. We heard this in 1979, in 2003, and are hearing it now in 2009. The consolation is that, on those two previous occasions, the desire to obituarise was just another sign that shares had touched their low.”

Maybe so, and perhaps that accounts for the emergence of guidance notes aimed at educating pension trustees about their wider responsibilities as investors.… Read the rest

Strong support for shareholder resolution at Novartis AGM

Some 31.1% of votes cast at the AGM of Novartis, held in Switzerland on Tuesday, supported the proposal by Ethos and eight other shareholders that the company should provide shareholders with an annual advisory vote on the remuneration report. A further 2.9% of the votes cast were in the form of positive abstentions.… Read the rest

Global Investors Press Obama for Action on Governance

Leading global investors, with assets totalling over $1.3 trillion, have written to US President Barack Obama urging the new administration to implement “critical” legal reforms to US financial markets and corporate governance practices.

The institutions, representing the pension savings of some 15 million individuals globally, called for fundamental reforms as a means of restoring investor trust in the integrity of US capital markets and public corporations.… Read the rest