Caterpillar: Federal investigations prompt investor concerns

Caterpillar federal investigation tax schemes

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

US Business Roundtable supports Dodd Frank reform

Business Roundtable | BRT

The Business Roundtable (BRT), an association of the top US chief executives, has voiced its support for President Trump’s plans to reform Dodd Frank and has outlined a number of corporate governance regulations that it believes need reform or to be repealed.… Read the rest

Yahoo CEO gives up bonus over 2014 cyber security breach

Yahoo CEO cyber security data breach

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo chief executive, has lost her 2016 cash bonus and forgone her 2017 equity award after an investigation found that executives at the technology company were aware of a cyber security data breach in 2014 but did not actively investigate the incident.… Read the rest

S&P 100 companies increase disclosure on investor engagement

Nearly half of S&P 100 companies included information in 2016 that showed how they responded to shareholder concerns and made changes to policies, according to a new report from US corporate adviser, Equilar.

 

In 2016 42% of S&P 100 companies included disclosures in their proxy statements on how they modified their practices after engaging with shareholders compared to just 14% in 2012.… Read the rest

US SEC: Comments sought on pay ratio disclosure rule

SEC Securities & Exchange Commission

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking comments from companies are encountering as they look to comply with the CEO Pay Ratio disclosure rule which took effect for financial years from 1st January 2017. The rule, hotly debated by business and investors alike, requests companies to disclose the ratio of the median of the annual total pay of all employees to the annual total pay of the chief executive.… Read the rest

President Trump begins rollback of Dodd-Frank

Business Roundtable letter Whitehouse

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday (3rd February) seeking a review of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulatory framework. At the same time President Trump has rescinded the Fiduciary Rule which was designed to eliminate investment advisor conflicts-of-interest in respect of retirement plans.… Read the rest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

US firms and investors call on Trump to tackle climate change

Lars Petersson, CEO of IKEA-USA

A coalition of 530 US companies and 100 institutional investors have called on President-elect Donald Trump and politicians in Congress to embrace a low carbon economy and tackle climate change ahead of Trump’s inauguration later this month.

In a statement, which is also addressed to the the outgoing President Obama and global leaders, the signatories said they re-affirmed their deep commitment to addressing climate change through the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.… Read the rest

US updates ESG & voting guidance for ERISA funds

Phyllis Borzl - DoL

US regulators have responded to concerns that employee pension plans have not been exercising their shareholder rights by issuing updated guidance on proxy voting for 2017.

The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) agency said that it is has long believed that it is important for plan administrators to know what their responsibilities are when they vote proxies on those shares or exercise other shareholder rights.… Read the rest

Dimon takes chair of governance hawks, BRT

Jamie Dimon

As US Republicans accelerate their plans to dismantle much of the Dodd Frank regulatory framework, Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive (CEO) of JPMorgan Chase, has been appointed as the next chairman of the US  issuer lobby, Business Roundtable (BRT).

BRT’s members are the chief executives of the largest American companies; together with the US Chamber of Commerce, BRT has actively campaigned to roll back shareholder rights and reduce governance standards.… Read the rest

US investors, companies back Paris climate change agreement

cop22 climate change logo

Climate change targets and a commitment to support the United Nations-led Paris Agreement have been agreed by US companies and investors at a press conference at the UN’s  COP 22 Climate Change meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. Signatories want to send a strong message to US politicians, including President-elect Donald Trump, that, whatever the political stance, they would be working to cut greenhouse gas emissions.… Read the rest

SEC proposes universal proxy cards

US SEC improves shareholder democarcy

In a move to improve shareholder democracy the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed that universal proxy cards be introduced that allow investors to vote for directors as they would if they attended the company’s annual general meeting. However, one of the Commissioner, Michael Piwowar, has expressed his opposition to the proposal claiming that the changes pander to special interests.… Read the rest