Shareholder engagement on pay can work!

Today’s announcement by Cairn Energy that it will withdraw resolution 2 at its General Meeting next week, demonstrates that shareholders can act on egregious pay awards when they really want to.

Cairn had proposed the award of shares to Sir Bill Gammell with a value of £2.5m (based on average closing share price for the 3 days prior to 6 January 2012), to be released after three years.… Read the rest

Remuneration Committee “Cronysism” – digging deeper


Since we published data on the number of executive directors in the FTSE 100 sitting on remuneration committees of other FTSE 100 companies, a common question we received was … what if you look beyond the FTSE 100? So we have re-run the numbers, looking at the FTSE All-Share (i.e.… Read the rest

Shareholder Nomination Committees – just a different form of cronyism?

Last week, in a speech at a High Pay Commission seminar, the shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna and former Business Secretary Lord Myners both put forward arguments in favour of shareholder nomination committees as a way of improving corporate governance. Rather than the current UK model whereby the Nomination Committee is made up of members of the Board of Directors, they suggested that we should be following the “European model” (well, the Swedish one actually, although there are a few Finnish companies with the Finnish Government as a major shareholder tagging along).… Read the rest

Crony capitalism or mass hysteria?


Journalists and politicians must not have enough to do in the post-Christmas dip. “Action looms to curb executive pay” proclaims the FT on January 5 the day before the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron devotes precious prime time on Radio 4’s flagship breakfast talk show “Today” to declare he is “not satisfied with top pay”.… Read the rest

“Remunerationgate” – the median isn’t the message

Whether it’s a case of “In war, truth is the first casualty” or “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”, sound arguments for reform can easily be undone by the careless use of dodgy data to fit a chosen position.

The debate around reform of executive remuneration is in grave danger if the UK government continues to rely on data which has been manipulated to fit a particular lobbying position.… Read the rest

A surprise pre-Christmas bonus

Holders of common shares in Millicom International Cellular are in line for a surprise pre-Christmas bonus, to the tune of $3 per share. Shareholders at Millicom’s EGM, convened specifically for the purpose, today voted in favour of the special dividend proposed.

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Consistency in Climate Change Disclosure – A Step Closer?

Companies face increasing pressure from governments, investors and other organisations to measure and publish annual greenhouse gas (GHG) production. This rising demand is valuable to encourage disclosure, but is hindered by the lack of a standard international method of reporting. Acknowledgement of the value of such reports is increasing, but as no majority standard currently exists, individuals and small groups have developed their own methods.… Read the rest

The heart of darkness in proxy voting?

 A shorter version of this article appeared in Financial News on Monday, October 10th 2011

The City might sometimes wish it otherwise, but voting rights are central to shareholders exercising oversight of the companies they invest in. Since the publication of the Cadbury Report in 1993 there has been great emphasis on the role of board structures, executive pay, committees and directors.… Read the rest

Aussie proxy season gets into full swing

Over 140 of the S&P/ASX 200 companies have June year ends and will hold their AGMs between late September and late November. The busiest dates for AGMs are between 24 and 28 October, with 9 & 10 November and 24 & 25 November other busy days in the calendar.… Read the rest

Manifest branches out in Australia

As Manifest continues its increase in global coverage, we are delighted to announce that from October 2011, Manifest has a branch office operating in Melbourne, Australia. We are delighted to be working with Mark Bytheway and the team at the Sustainable Research Institute, SIRIS, to offer Asian investors an Asia-Pacific focussed governance support service.… Read the rest

Is ‘Say on Pay’ really global?

Manifest Research Manager Alan Brett highlights some of the key issues raised in a recent Manifest report “Say on Pay a Global Perspective”.

With the volatility and uncertainty surrounding equities as an asset class worldwide, there has been an increased focus on executive pay, particularly where it has been apparent that the remuneration paid to CEOs has not been commensurate with performance.… Read the rest