Investors talk about their pre-season plans

London based investor relations advisor HQB Partners has released its 2010 pre-season survey of corporate governance teams at 23 leading institutional investors in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands. In all the respondents manage assets in excess of US$ 11.1 trillion.

According to the survey, three issues were identified by more than half of the respondents as being areas of focus during the upcoming AGM season:

  • Executive remuneration
  • Board of Directors
  • Capital increases

Transparency of remuneration and clear performance linkages were a universal theme for respondents, although depending on the corporate jurisdiciton, the quality of disclosures is likely to be highly variable which is likely to lead to continued dissent votes.

Other notable observation is the impact of stock lending in the governance process with a number of participants no longer involved in lending and the remainder more focussed on recall in the run up to a meeting.

According to Viviane Joynes, a partner at HQB, while there is increased convergence on shareholders’  approach to remuneration issues, there are still national differences on other substantive issues such as pre-emption. This creates challenges not only for companies with disparate and rapidly changing share registers, but also for shareholders seeking to work together. However, the survey concludes with the observation that its most important finding is that “corporate governance and engagement with companies is starting to come of age for investors.”

Links

HQB Survey >>

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