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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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Snap go the votes!

Snap IPO shares no voting power

News of Snap Inc’s pending IPO arrived too late for our usual weekly round-up, but no matter, now that the full implications of the disappearing photo-apps disappearing votes have started to sink in, we can take a moment to reflect on what this really means for investors and good governance.… Read the rest

Thomas Cook: joined up voting on pay

Thomas Cook pay

Travel company, Thomas Cook received a warning on pay this week at its AGM when the voting results showed that some investors at starting to take a joined up approach to remuneration-related voting. This is a signal to all companies seeking approval for their remuneration policies and new incentive plans this year that shareholders do not want the potential for excessive awards under these schemes.… Read the rest

Sports Direct’s independent shareholders remain unconvinced

Sports Direct Logo

A majority of Sports Direct independent shareholders remain sceptical of governance improvements at the troubled retailer and last week voted against the re-election of its chairman, Keith Hellawell. Under UK listing rules, the retailer had been forced to hold a general meeting to vote again on his reappointment after most independent shareholders voted against him at the company’s AGM last September.… Read the rest

OECD Consults on Guidance to Support Firms Implement its Guidelines for MNEs

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is consulting on general Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and supplemental advice to provide practical support to companies on the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

This general guidance builds on the sectoral guidance already published or being developed by the OECD.… 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

Shell has muted opposition to executive pay

Royal Dutch Shell experienced a relatively modest level of investor opposition to its executive remuneration report at its recent AGM with a 14% vote against, this follows the rival oil company BP’s loss of its pay vote last month. However, Manifest data shows it is the highest level of opposition Shell has received in the past six years – although it hovered between 10% and 11% between 2012 and 2014.… Read the rest

Oil company climate change reporting demand gains traction

Shareholder resolutions requesting reporting on how oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron will adapt to climate change targets received record investor backing at their AGMs last week (25th May), according to US pressure group, Ceres.

The resolution that would have required ExxonMobil to prepare an annual report examining the implications to the company’s business if world leaders follow through on their pledges to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels, received 38% of the vote while a similar resolution put before Chevron’s investors got 41% backing from shareholders.… Read the rest

More companies face investor opposition to executive pay this week

Standard Life, which as an institutional investor is known for its stewardship approach, faced opposition to the pay awarded to its chief executive, Keith Skeoch at its recent AGM (17th May). The investment and insurance company received a 22% vote against it remuneration report. Read the rest

Dissent on pay continues at UK AGMs

Investors showed their concerns over executive pay at more AGMs this week. The largest rebellion was at bookmaker Ladbrokes which faced a 42% vote against its remuneration report – this was just above the 40% vote against received last year.

Ladbrokes has agreed to merge with another betting company, Coral, and stated in its annual report that it would undertake a review of the remuneration policy of the combined company once the deal is completed.… Read the rest

Rio Tinto avoids large pay vote rebellion

Mining group, Rio Tinto, which is dual-listed in the UK and Australia, avoided a large scale rebellion over its remuneration report although there was a higher level of dissension than in previous years. The voting results were announced following the Australian AGM – Rio Tinto plc held its AGM last month.… Read the rest

More companies face investor concerns over pay at AGMs

Shareholders have again showed their discontent over excessive executive pay packages with large votes opposing remuneration reports and policies. Engineering company Weir lost its binding vote on its remuneration policy – with a 72% vote against – while at building materials supplier CRH there was a 41% vote in opposition to its policy although in its case the vote was advisory as the company is not incorporated in the UK.… Read the rest

Anglo American faces opposition to executive pay

Mining group Anglo American faced a 42% vote opposing its remuneration report at its AGM this week. Though not a complete rejection the company acknowledged that it needed to engage with shareholders further in advance of the remuneration policy vote next year which will be binding.… Read the rest