Going Dutch on Shareholders Rights

Probably the most un-noticed consequence of the battle around the ill-fated Royal Bank of Scotland acquisition of ABN-AMRO has been the subsequent limitation of shareholders’ rights in the Netherlands.

At the start of July a number of significant amendments Dutch company law were introduced which will make it significantly harder for shareholders to table their own resolutions.… Read the rest

Taking the ‘action’ away from actionnaires…

The  update of the corporate governance code for French listed companies published this month by AFEP/MEDEF has raised some telling questions about the governance of governance across the channel. Viewed against a backdrop of an agressive campaign on the part of French issuers seemingly aimed at censuring proxy research providers, the arrangements for the enforcement of the new code are particularly startling.… Read the rest

Switzerland and the Minder Initiative: What would Spiderman say?

The Swiss Federal Council recently published their “Proposal for an Ordinance against abusive remuneration practices” in response to the successful popular referendum on what has been dubbed the “Minder Initiative”.  It is the first formal consultation stage ahead of the tabling of a formal legislative proposal, timetabled for November, in time for a January 1st 2014 implementation date.… Read the rest

Executive remuneration reporting: Single figures but seeing double?

Even more than its predecessors, Manifest and MM&K’s Total Remuneration Survey 2013 (May edition) deservedly earned headlines and an impressive array of coverage in the press after the launch earlier this week (even making it into Vogue, which must be a first for corporate governance research?!).… Read the rest

MyShares UK – The first App to support Retail Investors of UK Companies

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The App has been specifically developed for retail investors of UK listed companies. Users can browse through at anytime the latest key corporate documents relating to the annual general meeting and dividend payment information of listed companies across UK indices.… Read the rest

Farewell Bond, will Dimon be forever?

It’s being quite a few days for corporate governance. First, the unprecedented (at least since our records began in 1996) shock yesterday of Sir John Bond’s ejection as Chair of Glencore Xstrata, whilst in the same week, the PR chicanery currently being played out in the US ahead of JPMorgan’s AGM next week over the question of whether the Chair and Chief Executive roles should be split out.… Read the rest

Please sir, I’d like to have a vote?

Perhaps the two least surprising observations about last week’s local government elections in the UK were the weakness of the incumbent national government party vote, and the continued fall in turnout. If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s that generally people don’t understand why local government is important to them and therefore don’t bother to vote, and that of those who do, many are simply turning up to have an indescriminate whinge.… Read the rest

Audit, competition and serving shareholders

Last week, the UK Competition Commission published its provisional findings in its investigation into the provision of statutory audit services in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the findings show that there are obstacles to competition, as if we didn’t know that already. Just in case you needed more evidence, some really interesting research in this month’s Financial Director magazine’s 2013 Audit Survey shows just how much harder the ‘fifth’ audit company has to work compared to the average of the big four .… Read the rest

ESMA & Proxy – chasing molehills, missing mountains

ESMA has now released its final report on ‘The Proxy Advisor Industry’. It’s key recommendation, after long deliberation, is that  there is “no current market failure related to proxy advisors interaction with investors and issuers in the European Union (EU).”

This finding is very welcome, but to those in the industry, it doesn’t really come as a surprise.… Read the rest

Q:Why is proxy voting like a supermarket lasagne?

A: Suspect ingredients, lack of traceability, bad labelling and poor retailer accountability.

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Shareblocking rears its ugly head – German AGMs at risk as foreign shareholders frozen out

Europe’s much heralded Shareholders’ Rights Directive (2007) was meant to put an end to share blocking and immobilization and give all shareholders, irrespective of their locale, the same rights to vote across borders with minimum fuss.  However, the best laid plans of regulators, shareholders and issuers appear to have been scuppered by the custodian banks, and not for the first time.… Read the rest

Investors’ engagement crucial to more sustainable financial sector

Guest post by:
Magnus Furugård, President and Managing Director, GES International, a Manifest partner

Asset owners and asset managers should engage more strongly on ESG performance with the banks in order to contribute to a more sustainable financial sector, a recent survey by GES concludes.… Read the rest