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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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Delivering Diverse Viewpoints

In the pursuit of secure investment returns, diverse viewpoints based on high-quality data and varied information are critical for portfolio construction. We believe that share ownership is no different. Manifest intelligently navigates the complexities of global governance and voting delivering actionable and defensible stewardship insights.

Manifest: showing, not telling

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UK General Election: Theresa May pledges boost in workers rights

UK General Election workers rights

The UK’s general election campaign highlighted workers rights and representation as well as executive pay.

With the main parties launching their manifestos this week the Conservative Party reiterated its commitment, that appeared in the government’s corporate governance green paper, to improve worker representation on company boards.… 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

MPs call for toughening up of UK corporate governance rules

Iain Wright MP BEIS Select Committe

Directors should be required to take their corporate governance and legal duties more seriously the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee believes. The committee’s report on corporate governance was published this week.

While the MPs state that there is no need for a radical overhaul of corporate governance in the UK, “We do believe that there is scope for significant improvements in order to address the changing nature of company ownership in a globalised economy.”

Iain Wright MP, Chair of the BEIS select committee, said: “The UK corporate governance system is recognised throughout the world as of high quality.Read the rest

Minister urges FTSE 350 CEOs to improve staff diversity

FTSE 350 staff diversity

Business Minister Margot James has written to the chief executives of all FTSE 350 companies urging them to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

This follows the publication of the findings of a review led by Baroness McGregor-Smith last month.… Read the rest

Boards need to work to rebuild trust in business

business trust Ecoda

Encouraging responsible leadership by company boards so that businesses contribute to wider society was the theme of the recent discussion organised by the European Confederation of Directors’ Associations (ecoDa) and Standard Life Investments. This was building on a vision of the role of business begun by the World Economic Forum.… Read the rest

Boards, investors explore better stakeholder relations

ICSA and IA guidance to support company boards to engage with stakeholders

A project to help boards understand and factor in the views of their employees and other stakeholders led by the  ICSA: The Governance Institute and the Investment Association, has been welcomed by the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The project follows the lead of the government’s green paper on corporate governance reform which explores how employees and other stakeholders could be better represented at the top of UK’s listed companies.… Read the rest

Women increase representation on US company boards

chart of women on boards in usa

The numbers of women on boards in the US has risen in the past year according to the latest  annual 2020 Gender Diversity Index (GDI) produced by the campaign group, 2020 Women on Boards. The organisation aims to  increase the percentage of women on US company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.… Read the rest

UK PM Theresa May softens stance on worker representation

Theresa May UK PM

UK Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to soften her stance on board worker representation within UK companies having previously suggested they should be represented alongside consumers. Speaking at the CBI annual conference this week she said that the government’s coming green paper on corporate governance would address executive pay, shareholder accountability and how “we can ensure the employee voice is heard in the boardroom.”

Addressing worker representation May said: “I can categorically tell you that this is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards.Read the rest

Boosting the diversity pipeline: the Hampton-Alexander recommendations

Board diversity needs stronger pipelines

Sir Philip Hampton and Dame Helen Alexander have released their recommendations for boosting UK board diversity with a stronger pipeline of women. Their report follows on from the progress made by the Davies review by focusing on increasing the number of female executive directors and broadening the scope to the entire FTSE 350.… Read the rest

BEIS Select Committee publishes corporate governance inquiry responses

(c) Can Stock Photo / stoyanh

Huge response to BEIS Select Committee

The UK’s Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) select committee has reported a larger than usual response to its request for written submissions to its corporate governance inquiry. Responses by the main industry bodies and interest groups, firms – including Manifest – together with individual submissions from academics and fund managers have been published on the committee’s website.… Read the rest

Sky AGM: independent shareholders vote against James Murdoch

Over half of the Sky’s (LON: SKY) independent shareholders  rebelled against the election of James Murdoch as a non-executive director at last week’s AGM following his appointment as chairman earlier this year.

Overall Murdoch received 71.6% support for his re-election, the lowest vote in favour of any of the AGM’s resolutions.… Read the rest

Wells Fargo's Stumpf resigns as ICCR demands 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