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Welcome to Manifest-I the blog of Manifest Information Services Ltd. Here we take a wide ranging view of topical governance and stewardship issues. Please feel free to add your comments and join the debate. Sign up to receive free weekly updates.

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Accor: Double voting rights dissapointment

Accor double voting rights

Minority shareholders in Accor, were disappointed when their resolution was not passed at its AGM (5th May) meaning double voting rights continue for large investors in the hotel chain.
French social investment firm, Phitrust Partners, advised by corporate governance and proxy voting specialists Proxinvest, submitted the resolution – calling for the principle of “one share – one vote” to be adopted at Accor  – with the support of other minority shareholders.… Read the rest

ShareAction: Investors to oppose BP and Shell’s pay policies

BP remuneration policy

Responsible investment pressure group, ShareAction is calling on investors to oppose the executive pay policies of oil companies, Shell and BP, arguing that they are not aligned with the long-term interests of shareholders.
ShareAction said that the remuneration for executives at both oil companies is rewarding the achievement of corporate strategies which could put shareholder value at risk as the economy shifts towards low carbon energy production.… Read the rest

Wells Fargo shareholders demonstrate their discontent

Wells Fargo

Shareholders in scandal-hit US bank Wells Fargo gave the company a signal of their dissatisfaction in voting at its recent AGM.

While the re-election of the directors was passed with the majority of votes cast the proportion in favour for many of the directors was considerably lower than normal.… Read the rest

USS calls on AkzoNobel to engage with PPG over its bid

AkzoNobel USS PPG

UK pension fund, Universities Superannuation Scheme, (USS) has called on the Dutch paintmaker AkzoNobel to engage constructively with its US rival PPG which has recently submitted a third bid for the company, AkzoNobel said it will consider the proposal in line with its fiduciary duties and acting under the Dutch governance code.… Read the rest

Caterpillar: Federal investigations prompt investor concerns

Caterpillar AGM tax scheme

Investors in machinery, vehicle and engine manufacturer Caterpillar have called on its board to establish a special committee to investigate any risks related to tax schemes set up by the company which are now subject to investigations by US federal authorities.… 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

Conflicts of interest, human capital and investor confidence concerns dog Sports Direct

In a surprise change of PR last Friday, (26 August 2016) Sports Direct announced that it would hold a public open day to coincide with its AGM on 7th September  at its premises in Shirebrook. The event is said to “enable the board to engage with as many people as possible in an open discussion about the business.” In an unprecedented move the AGM is also being opened up to non-shareholders – previous AGMs have previously been tightly restricted to shareholders only with all press excluded.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

Investors call for systematic climate-related risk reporting

A group of institutional investors has called on companies to assess and report their climate-related risks within their annual report to shareholders, in the interests of prudent and long-term capital stewardship.

The position paper has been signed by Natasha Landell-Mills, head of stewardship at Sarasin & Partners;  Councillor Kieran Quinn, chair of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, Ashley Hamilton Claxton, corporate governance manager at Royal London Asset Management,  John David, head of Rathbone Greenbank Investments and Adam Matthews, head of engagement for the Church Commissioners and Pensions Board of the Church of England.… Read the rest

Shell audit conflict raises eyebrows at Standard Life

…as the UK’s Financial Reporting Council finalises auditor rules

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published final drafts of the latest UK corporate governance code and the associated guidance on audit committees so they will meet the requirements of forthcoming legislation on audit committees and auditor appointments.… Read the rest

Shareholders vote against executive pay packages at BP and Smith and Nephew AGMs

The 2016 AGM season started with major defeats for two FTSE100 companies. Last Thursday (14th April) oil giant BP and medical equipments supplier, Smith & Nephew saw their remuneration reports rejected by shareholders at their AGMs. At the BP AGM there was a 59% vote against the remuneration report and at Smith & Nephew 53% of shareholder votes cast were opposed to the remuneration report.… Read the rest

Shareholders call for companies to respond to environmental concerns

Investors vote on the first of three shareholder resolutions proposed at Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Glencore AGMs this week calling for reporting by these mining companies into how they are managing carbon emissions and investing in low-carbon energy research and development.… Read the rest