Welcome to Manifest-I

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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Shell faces shareholder resolution for greenhouse gas targets

Shell

Oil giant Shell is facing a shareholder resolution at its AGM next week (23rd May) calling for it to set and publish targets for reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement goal of reducing global warming to two degrees celsius.… Read the rest

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

UK Church Investors Group warn on CEO pay

Church Investors Group CEO pay warning

The Church Investors Group (CIG) has written to all FTSE 350 company secretaries outlining its revised voting policy for 2017 which includes a tough stance on executive pay. The CIG brings together the major church-based institutional investors and with their combined assets of approximately £ 17 billion aims to increase their impact through the joint voting policy.… Read the rest

Tougher investor stance on executive pay signalled for 2017

The UK’s Pension’s and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has advised its pension fund members to act more strongly on executive pay. It is advising funds oppose the re-election of the remuneration committee chair as a company director if they decide as shareholders to vote against a company’s remuneration policy.… 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

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

Canada legislates to improve governance, diversity

Canada has introduced a bill aimed at improving its corporate governance framework. An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA), the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act and the Competition Act includes proposals to increase shareholder democracy and participation, support the push to increase women’s board participation, improve corporate transparency and business certainty.… Read the rest

Australian Institute of Company Directors calls for direct voting at AGMs

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is supporting reforms of the traditional company AGM system. The Australian federal government’s consultation has just ended on proposals to allow electronic forms of communication as the default method of providing shareholders with the notice of meetings and for proxy materials and meeting papers to be accessed on company websites.… Read the rest

WPP's remuneration vote passes - with higher dissent

Despite public calls for pension funds to vote against WPP’s remuneration report at its AGM this week (8th June) the resolution was passed with 33.5% dissent – higher than 2015’s 22.2% protest vote.

ShareAction had condemned the chief executive’s (CEO) Sir Martin Sorrell’s £70m pay packet, which makes him the highest paid CEO in the FTSE 100.… Read the rest

US remuneration committee chairs get less support after losing say on pay votes, study finds

Executive pay firm, Semler Brossey, has analysed the relationship between the shareholder support given in elections of remuneration committee members and chairs and the result of the say on pay votes at US company AGMs.

The study of director election results between 2014 and 2016 found that over 80% of director elections have received vote support above 95% and only 0.3% of elections have failed to receive majority support (107 out of 42,499 total elections).… 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

Australia moves to kill off show of hands for AGM voting

Shareholders in Australian companies are now more likely to have their votes taken on a poll by default instead of the traditional show of hands. Two-thirds of companies targeted by a global collaborative investor initiative have moved towards using polls, according to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).… Read the rest