UK Church Investors Group warn on CEO pay

Church Investors Group CEO pay warning

The Church Investors Group (CIG) has written to all FTSE 350 company secretaries outlining its revised voting policy for 2017 which includes a tough stance on executive pay. The CIG brings together the major church-based institutional investors and with their combined assets of approximately £ 17 billion aims to increase their impact through the joint voting policy.… Read the rest

USA: Investor Stewardship Group launches Codes

Investor Stewardship Group

The US has moved a step closer to a national stewardship and governance code with the launch of the Investor Stewardship Group. The signatories and supporters of the $17 trillion group are now urging all institutional investors to join the framework.… Read the rest

Wells Fargo’s Stumpf resigns as shareholders re-state demand for reforms

John Stumpf, the chairman and chief Executive (CEO) of  troubled US bank Wells Fargo, has quit following admissions of fraudulent activities, including the opening of customer accounts without permission. Stumpf’s replacement as CEO is Tim Sloan, the company’s president and chief operating officer.… Read the rest

Sports Direct governance changes – too little or too early to tell?

Retailer Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey has resigned to be replaced by Mike Ashley, founder of the company, its major shareholder and previously executive deputy chairman. No reason for his departure has been given but the resignation follows months of criticism of the company because of its working practices and poor corporate governance.… Read the rest

Sports Direct takes action to respond to criticisms of working practices and corporate governance

Major institutional investors were among those criticising retailer Sports Direct at its AGM this week and showed their disquiet about the company through their votes. The majority of independent shareholders voted against the re-election of the chairman Keith Hellawell and in favour of a shareholder resolution put forward by the Trade Union Share Owners (TUSO) group and Islington Council calling for an independent investigation into how the company treats its workers.… Read the rest

RI guidance for DC pension schemes attracts widespread welcome

 The UK’s Pension Regulator’s new code of practice for occupational trust-based defined-contribution (DC) pension schemes and the publication of six ‘how to’ guides to give comprehensive guidance to trustees has been warmly welcomed by a number of responsible investment groups.
The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) said that the investment governance guide is clear that the schemes’ investment governance arrangements need to be consistent with its legal powers and responsibilities as outlined by the Law Commission’s 2014 report into fiduciary duties.… Read the rest

US business leaders call for backing of “common sense corporate governance principles”

Jamie Dimon

A group of 13 US and Canadian fund managers, pension funds and company bosses have taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a set of corporate governance principles in a bid to quell rising unease and conflict around US governance standards.

In an open letter the business leaders, who include Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, Larry Fink chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, veteran activist investor Warren Buffet head of Berkshire Hathaway, Mary Barra, chairman and chief executive of General Motors and Mark Machin chief executive of  the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, indicate that while they have various opinions on corporate governance, “We share the view that constructive dialogue requires finding common ground — a starting point to foster the economic growth that benefits shareholders, employees and the economy as a whole.… Read the rest

Prominent ESG investor objects to US legislators’ plans to curb proxy advisers

Walden Asset Management has added its voice to those criticising the proposed Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act of 2016 (HR 5311) passed last month by the US House of Representatives’ Finance Services Committee.

In a letter to  Jeb Hensarling the chairman and Maxine Waters, a member of the committee the ESG-focused asset manager Walden agreed with other opponents of the bill believing that it undermined proxy voting providers whose services provided research and guided the proxy voting decisions of institutional investors.… Read the rest

Investors have role to play in tackling forced labour

Investors need to engage more effectively with companies on forced labour and ensure that firms are meeting reporting requirements according to the latest Investor Briefing by pressure group, ShareAction.

The briefing includes examples of shareholder engagement with companies as well as policy makers which has led to action being taken against the use of forced labour by suppliers.… Read the rest

New York City pension funds proxy access campaign success

US investors passed the first shareholder resolution in a decade at ExxonMobil when they voted to back the proxy access resolution at its recent AGM. The non-binding resolution called for the oil company to give investors that have jointly held at least 3% of its common stock for at least three years the ability to nominate directors using the corporate ballot.… Read the rest