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Georgeson
Georgeson Monthly Roundup - August 2019
Activism
global
europe
north america
asia
australia
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Latest Georgeson publications

Ethical Boardroom

Ethical Boardroom has published a Georgeson article entitled Remuneration and the Shareholder Rights Directive: https://ethicalboardroom.com/ethical-boardroom-summer-2019/.

“The general consensus is therefore that, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, national law implementing the revised Shareholder Rights Directive will require significant adjustments on the part of companies, as investors – who are accustomed to largely ignoring executive remuneration practices when no vote is involved – will ‘discover’ practices that they have long stopped tolerating in other markets where all companies already put their remuneration up for some sort of annual vote.”

See the full article here: https://www.georgeson.com/News/190812_Ethical%20Boardroom_Remuneration%20and%20the%20SRD.pdf.
Shareholder Activism
  • Breakingviews argues that Scout24 demonstrates how not to deal with Elliott: https://www.breakingviews.com/considered-view/scout24-demonstrates-how-not-to-deal-with-elliott/. “The $6 bln German classifieds group may sell its automotive arm – a key request of the U.S. activist hedge fund which owns 7%. Scout boss Tobias Hartmann could have announced the no-brainer months ago after a failed buyout. Instead he waited, and Elliott has him on the back foot.”

  • Retuers reports that Knight Vinke urges Alpiq board to call off delisting, squeezeout: https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-alpiq-m-a/knight-vinke-urges-alpiq-board-to-call-off-delisting-squeezeout-idUKKCN1VA0U6. “Knight Vinke wants Alpiq to stop its delisting and the squeezeout of minority shareholders following a takeover by a pension-backed Swiss investment fund, the activist investor said in a letter published on Tuesday. In May, the Credit Suisse-managed CSA Energy Infrastructure Switzerland fund announced a takeover bid, offering shareholders 70 Swiss francs ($71.52) for each Alpiq share.”

  • The Financial Times reports that Goldman Sachs rivals circle after top banker jumps to Elliott: https://www.ft.com/content/d0988156-be0b-11e9-b350-db00d509634e. “Steven Barg joins activist hedge fund which he used to advise companies on how to beat.”

  • CalSTRS has announced that it is seeking to Join Lawsuit to Reform Governance Practices at Facebook: https://www.calstrs.com/news-release/calstrs-seeks-join-lawsuit-reform-governance-practices-facebook. “The Teachers’ Retirement Board today announced it will make a motion to be added as a plaintiff to a pending derivative case against Facebook’s leadership, including CEO/Chairman Mark Zuckerberg. A derivative lawsuit is brought by shareholders on behalf of a corporation to remedy harm done to the corporation.  The revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which Facebook users’ private data was compromised, led to a $119 billion dollar drop in Facebook’s stock price — the largest single-day loss in market history. Intervening in the existing derivative suit will give CalSTRS the opportunity to pursue corporate governance reform in order to protect Facebook’s profitability, strengthen the resiliency of its business model and enhance the long-term value of Facebook as a corporation.”

  • The Financial Times reports that Ferguson risks shareholder rift with talk of US move: https://www.ft.com/content/ba4540a8-c35e-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9. “Activist fund forces plumbing merchant to consider listing switch out of UK.”
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Global
  • ISS have published an article entitled Building a Climate Change Voting Policy: https://www.issgovernance.com/library/building-a-climate-change-voting-policy/. “While many institutional investors place climate change as a priority issue among their investment stewardship initiatives, it can be especially challenging to systematically incorporate climate change into proxy voting and engagement strategies. Companies’ annual meeting agendas rarely include proposals dealing directly with climate change issues. Only a small minority of companies – typically large firms in energy-intensive sectors, mainly in the U.S. – may receive climate-related shareholder proposals. Further, many shareholder proposals dealing with climate issues do not make it to the ballot, as they are either withdrawn by proponents or may be omitted by companies. However, climate change is a systemic risk affecting all sectors of the economy, all markets, and large and small companies alike.” See the full article here: https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2019/08/03/building-a-climate-change-voting-policy/.  

  • Bloomberg reports that Big Money Starts to Dump Stocks That Pose Climate Risks: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-07/big-money-starts-to-dump-stocks-that-pose-climate-risks. “After years of meetings and shareholder resolutions, some funds are starting to simply divest from coal and oil stocks.”

  • AXA Investment Managers has published a report entitled ESG and financial returns: The academic perspective: https://www.axa-im.com/content/-/asset_publisher/alpeXKk1gk2N/content/esg-and-financial-returns-the-academic-perspective/23818. “An increasing amount of academic research is showing that the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors can potentially lead to better performance for both companies and their investors. This is fundamentally dispelling the long-held stereotypical view that investing responsibly means sacrificing investment returns. In this document, we highlight a variety of academic research which demonstrates the positive link between ESG and financial performance. These studies support AXA Investment Managers’ ambition and commitment to integrating ESG factors into investment analysis, engaging investee companies and developing impact investing – as we believe it is in our clients’ long-term best interests to do so.” See the full report here: https://www.axa-im.com/documents/23818/221263/ESG+and+financial+returns+-+The+academic+perspective.pdf/.  

  • The Financial Times reports that Artificial intelligence promises to enhance sustainable investing: https://www.ft.com/content/7c40cdfc-b528-11e9-bec9-fdcab53d6959. “Computers and data scientists can unearth key themes missed by traditional research.”

  • The Economist reports about What companies are for: Competition, not corporatism, is the answer to capitalism’s problems: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/08/22/what-companies-are-for. “Across the West, capitalism is not working as well as it should. Jobs are plentiful, but growth is sluggish, inequality is too high and the environment is suffering. You might hope that governments would enact reforms to deal with this, but politics in many places is gridlocked or unstable. Who, then, is going to ride to the rescue? A growing number of people think the answer is to call on big business to help fix economic and social problems. Even America’s famously ruthless bosses agree. This week more than 180 of them, including the chiefs of Walmart and JPMorgan Chase, overturned three decades of orthodoxy to pledge that their firms’ purpose was no longer to serve their owners alone, but customers, staff, suppliers and communities, too.”
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Europe
Pan-European developments
UK
  • The Financial Times reports that FTSE 100 CEO pay falls to lowest level in 5 years: https://www.ft.com/content/27aae4ca-c023-11e9-89e2-41e555e96722. “Investor revolts see blue-chip bosses’ median package slip from £4m to £3.4m.” The underlying CIPD and High Pay Centre report, entitled Executive pay in the FTSE 100, is available here: http://highpaycentre.org/pubs/new-report-pay-for-ceos-of-uks-biggest-companies-falls-by-13. “The report argues that the fall in the pay of FTSE 100 CEOs is welcome and reflects improvements to the governance of the UK’s biggest companies, and a growing recognition of the need to address the rampant economic inequality in the UK. At the same time, CEO pay awards and the share of total incomes going to the very richest in society remain very high compared to the level of 20 years ago. There is still more to be done to align pay practices with the interests of wider society and give the public confidence that our biggest businesses are working for the good of the economy as a whole rather than the enrichment of a few people at the top.”

  • The GC100 and Investor Group have published their Directors’ Remuneration Reporting Guidance 2019: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/Browse/Home/About/GC100andInvestorGroup. “In 2019, the implementation of the revised Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II) led to further updates to the guidance given the impact on the directors’ remuneration reporting regulations. The key areas of change included: 1) Regulatory definitions for the employee comparator group and directors that are required when calculating percentage change in pay. 2) Discussion of measures taken to avoid or manage conflicts of interest in relation to determination, review and implementation of the remuneration policy. 3) Extension of coverage to include those considered to be CEO or deputy CEO, even where they are not appointed as directors. While the Group is confident that these revised guidelines will continue to be a useful aid for both companies and investors, we intend to review the document on a regular basis to ensure it remains relevant and useful.” See here for the full document: https://uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com/Link/Document/Blob/I53efc83fac8211e9adfea82903531a62.pdf.

  • The Daily Telegraph reports that Berkeley tears up pay policy after outcry: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/05/berkeley-tears-pay-policy-outcry/. “Berkeley Group has drawn up a new pay policy for bosses including its founder Tony Pidgley after outrage over payouts worth tens of millions of pounds. The housebuilder, which handed its three highest-paid executives a combined £21m last year, has scrapped its annual bonus. Bosses will now be forced to hang on to shares earned through the company's generous long-term incentive scheme for an extra two years. Mr Pidgley, Berkeley’s executive chairman, and his fellow directors will have to re-earn any shares that have not vested through the scheme by 2021 over the following four years.”

  • The Financial Times reports that Sports Direct courts mid-tier firms in race to appoint auditor: https://www.ft.com/content/e9c49546-c335-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9. “Mike Ashley’s retailer approaches BDO and Mazars in effort to avoid market suspension.”

  • Investment & Pensions Europe reports that UK MPs criticise government over handling of FRC chair appointment: https://www.ipe.com/pensions/pensions/pensions-accounting/uk-mps-criticise-government-over-handling-of-frc-chair-appointment/10032705.article. “An influential committee of UK politicians has issued a stinging rebuke to the government over its handling of the appointment of the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) new chairman. Former GlaxoSmithKline chief financial officer Simon Dingemans was named as the government’s preferred candidate for the chairmanship last month. However, in a report following his pre-appointment hearing, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee expressed ‘frustration and dissatisfaction’ with the BEIS department of government.”
France
  • The AMF has published a summary of socially responsible investment practices observed during its thematic inspections: https://www.amf-france.org/en_US/Actualites/Communiques-de-presse/AMF/annee-2019?docId=workspace%3A%2F%2FSpacesStore%2Fd7cd532f-933d-462c-b0d0-03d994994b3f. “As part of its short, thematic ‘SPOT’ (Supervision des Pratiques Opérationnelle et Thématique - operational and thematic supervision of practices) inspections, the AMF examined the socially responsible investment (SRI) systems implemented by five asset management companies (AMCs) and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. The aim is to ensure that SRI information provided to investors is fair, clear and non-misleading, but also compliant with the investment and management process implemented.” See the full report here: https://www.amf-france.org/magnoliaPublic/dam/jcr:ce857238-e918-4198-b863-6523873bbea2/20190712_synthese_spot_ISR_VA.pdf.  

  • Glass Lewis has published a post entitled Proxy Season Lookback: CGG marks first binding ‘non’ on pay in France: https://www.glasslewis.com/proxy-season-lookback-cgg-marks-first-binding-non-on-pay-in-france/. “The 2019 season marked French shareholders’ second opportunity to cast retrospective binding votes on executive compensation – and for the first time, shareholder votes prevented the payment of a bonus award, as well as the implementation of a new pay policy. Many markets offer a say-on-pay vote these days, but under Sapin II legislation, which came fully into effect in 2018, French shareholders get several ‘says’ on remuneration arrangements. The variable payments due to each executive are subject to a series of ‘ex-post’ binding votes (one for each executive) and there is an annual ‘ex-ante’ binding vote on the intended remuneration policy for the current year. Shareholders also get forward-looking advisory votes on severance arrangements.”
Germany
  • The Financial Times analyzes Why Germany Inc needs a big governance reboot: https://www.ft.com/content/3a489c9e-bddf-11e9-b350-db00d509634e. “German corporate law does not prescribe a shareholder vote on mergers and acquisitions; regardless of a deal’s size, all that is needed is the supervisory board’s approval. To some extent, Bayer shareholders have only themselves to blame. Prior to the deal, they had granted the group a five-year permit to increase the share count by as much as 45 per cent – opening the door for Bayer to fund the $64bn takeover, Germany’s biggest ever. Such far-reaching ‘general mandates’ are a standard feature for listed German companies. Intended to offer a fast track to new capital in an emergency, they can instead be used as a way for managers to put their own interests ahead of shareholders.”

  • The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) has published a paper entitled Gender Quotas in the Boardroom: New Evidence from Germany: https://www.diw.de/sixcms/detail.php?id=diw_01.c.669208.de. “We examine the introduction of a gender quota law in Germany, mandating a minimum 30% of the underrepresented gender on the supervisory boards of a particular type of firms. We exploit the fact that Germany has a two-tier corporate system consisting of the affected supervisory boards and unaffected management boards within the same firm. We find a positive effect on the female share on supervisory boards of affected firms, but no effect on presidency of the board or its size. We also study whether the increased female representation has had an effect on the financial performance of the firm and conclude that, unlike some previous studies in other countries, there has not been any negative effect on the profitability of the firm, neither at the time when the law was announced nor when it was passed.” See the full paper here: https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.669197.de/dp1810.pdf.
Netherlands
  • ING has announced that it is Introducing the world’s first sustainability improvement derivative: https://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/Introducing-the-worlds-first-sustainability-improvement-derivative.htm. “Companies are becoming more open to getting measured on environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, and ING is encouraging them to expand such goals by providing financial incentives. Today, we announced the world’s first sustainability improvement derivative (SID) provided to SBM Offshore, a global company that supplies floating production solutions to the offshore energy industry.”
Switzerland
  • Bloomberg reports that Swiss Enact Gender Pay Gap Reporting Requirement for Companies: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/corporate-law/swiss-enact-gender-pay-gap-reporting-requirement-for-companies. “Swiss companies will be required to look into whether they pay men and women equitably, an issue that led to a country-wide day of protest earlier this year. The law obliges companies with more than 100 employees to prepare an independently vetted report examining pay by mid 2021 and share the results of the analysis with staff. Firms will have to repeat the exercise every four years unless they find no evidence of an unexplained wage differential, the government said on Aug. 21.”
Sweden
  • Investment & Pensions Europe reports that Alecta chief urges positive reforms as corporate governance overhaul looms: https://www.ipe.com/countries/sweden/alecta-chief-urges-positive-reforms-as-corporate-governance-overhaul-looms/10032917.article. “The head of Sweden’s largest pension fund has called for the country’s corporate governance code to enshrine healthy corporate cultures and strong values.  The Swedish Corporate Governance Board is due to present amendments to the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance next month, and Magnus Billing, chief executive of the SEK934bn (€87bn) pension fund Alecta, said it should draw inspiration from recent reforms to the UK’s code by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).”
Italy
  • Reuters reports that Mediaset files complaint against Vivendi with Italy watchdog: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mediaset-vivendi/mediaset-files-complaint-against-vivendi-with-italy-watchdog-idUKKCN1VC1LL. “Mediaset has filed a complaint with Italy’s market watchdog, accusing shareholder Vivendi of leaking information with a view to scuppering its corporate restructuring plans, the Italian broadcaster said on Thursday. […] Mediaset in June announced plans to place its Italian and Spanish businesses under a Dutch holding company to pursue a pan-European growth strategy. Vivendi has criticised Mediaset’s restructuring plans, which includes strengthening a loyalty share scheme, saying they hurt the interests of minority investors.  It has the power to derail those plans and could exercise withdrawal rights over its 29% stake in Mediaset, forcing the Italian firm to spend more than the 180 million euros (£164 million) it has set aside for shareholders who want to liquidate their holdings. […] Despite Vivendi’s criticisms of the Mediaset loyalty scheme, the French firm has asked that its shares be included in it, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. It was unclear why it had done this. Vivendi declined to comment on the issue.”
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North America
United States
  • The Financial Times reports that Group of US corporate leaders ditches shareholder-first mantra: https://www.ft.com/content/e21a9fac-c1f5-11e9-a8e9-296ca66511c9. “Business Roundtable urges companies to consider the environment and workers.”

  • Bloomberg reports that Shareholders Voted Them Off the Board, But the Board Said No: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-27/houston-rig-giant-keeps-astros-owner-on-board-defying-investors. “Jim Crane, the businessman and former pitcher who owns the Houston Astros baseball team, was voted off of Nabors Industries Ltd.’s board by shareholders. But the board will keep him anyway, and that’s not the first time the shale-rig provider ignored investors. Crane, whose resignation was rejected by the board last week, had been voted down before, in 2017, and remained a director regardless. So has John Yearwood, who has failed to win over investors at least five times and is currently lead director. Mike Linn, who has been voted off twice in the last four years, still holds his seat. John Kotts and Howard Wolf, who is no longer on the board, also overstayed their welcome.”

  • The Council of Institutional Investors (CII) has announced that it Calls Out Directors Responsible for Dual-Class Companies Without ‘Sunsets’: https://www.cii.org/dual_class_enablers. “The Council of Institutional Investors (CII) today published a list of 159 directors who served on boards of U.S. public companies at the time they went public with dual-class share structures with unequal voting rights and no provision to ‘sunset’ that structure within a reasonable time period. Specifically, the list focuses on directors of companies that made their initial public offering (IPO) in 2018 and 2019 to date; it excludes directors of dual-class IPO companies that put in place time-based ‘sunsets’ of seven years or less to wind down to one class of stock with equal voting rights. The ‘Dual-Class Enablers’ spreadsheet identifies other U.S. public company boards on which these individuals currently serve.” See the list here: https://www.cii.org/dualclassenablers.  

  • The SEC says it has Clarifie[d] Investment Advisers’ Proxy Voting Responsibilities and Application of Proxy Rules to Voting Advice: https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2019-158. “The Securities and Exchange Commission today provided guidance to assist investment advisers in fulfilling their proxy voting responsibilities. The guidance discusses, among other matters, the ability of investment advisers to establish a variety of different voting arrangements with their clients and matters they should consider when they use the services of a proxy advisory firm. In addition, the Commission issued an interpretation that proxy voting advice provided by proxy advisory firms generally constitutes a ‘solicitation’ under the federal proxy rules and provided related guidance about the application of the proxy antifraud rule to proxy voting advice. Both of these actions explain the Commission’s view of various non-exclusive methods entities can use to comply with existing laws or regulations or how such laws and regulations apply.” According to ValueEdge Advisors, the SEC Almost Completely Gives Up on Regulating Proxy Advisors: https://valueedgeadvisors.com/2019/08/21/the-sec-almost-completely-gives-up-on-regulating-proxy-advisors/.

  • Reuters reports that Founder’s grip on WeWork may be hard for investors to stomach: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wework-ipo-governance/founders-grip-on-wework-may-be-hard-for-investors-to-stomach-idUSKCN1V5039. “Investors in the upcoming initial public offering of WeWork’s parent, The We Company, are being asked to lower their standards for corporate governance beyond what other technology startups have demanded, securities law experts said on Wednesday. Adam Neumann, the company’s CEO and co-founder, will control the company through his ownership of shares with high voting power, a common structure among newly listed Silicon Valley unicorns, including ride-sharing startup Lyft Inc, Snapchat owner Snap Inc and social media giant Facebook Inc. The We Company will take a financial hit for this decision, as the S&P 500 and some other major indices exclude companies with dual-class shares. […] But We Company, whose losses are widening with no stated path to profitability, has awarded Neumann unusual privileges that go beyond what most stock market investors are accustomed to, corporate governance experts said. These include giving his estate a major say in his replacement as CEO, and tying the voting power of shares to how much he donates to charitable causes, according to We Company’s IPO filing made public on Wednesday.”

  • Bloomberg reports that The Last All-Male Board in the S&P 500 Finally Added a Woman: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-24/the-last-all-male-board-in-the-s-p-500-finally-added-a-woman. “The all-male board is officially a thing of the S&P 500’s past. Copart Inc., the last company in the index without a female director, appointed CyrusOne CFO Diane Morefield to its board of directors this week. Earlier this year, Skechers and TripAdvisor Inc also added women. The final stretch of progress has been slow. In 2000, about 86% of S&P 500 companies had at least one women on their board according to Spencer Stuart. The last 14% of companies have taken almost 20 years to close the gap.”
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Asia
Japan
India
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has published for consultation a report entitled Working Group’s Report on Issues Concerning Proxy Advisors: https://www.sebi.gov.in/reports/reports/jul-2019/report-of-working-group-on-issues-concerning-proxy-advisors-seeking-public-comments_43710.html. According to Glass Lewis (see below), “the report focused on three areas: 1) Provisions pertaining to proxy advisors already included in existing regulation, notably the SEBI (Research Analysts) Regulations, 2014; 2) Rights and obligations of proxy advisors, including the need to establish clear policies and demonstrate their independence; 3) Other matters relevant to proxy advisors, such as the framework for resolving disputes with corporate issuers, etc. The report also considers further actions, including the extension of existing regulation of domestic proxy advisors to foreign firms, and the implementation of a stewardship code for institutional investors.” The consultation closed on 18 August. See here for the Glass Lewis response to the consultation: https://www.glasslewis.com/glass-lewis-submission-to-sebi-on-issues-related-to-proxy-advisors/.    

  • Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas reports about Corporate Social Responsibility – Less Carrot More Stick: https://corporate.cyrilamarchandblogs.com/2019/08/corporate-social-responsibility-less-carrot-more-stick/. “Accordingly, corporate social responsibility (CSR) was originally introduced in Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 (Companies Act), in keeping with global best practices, to provide a framework to encourage companies to meaningfully contribute to communities. The framework was premised on the principle that companies would contribute the prescribed amount in good faith and the requirement ‘to explain’ any failure to contribute, in their board report, was considered a sufficient disincentive to ensure compliance. In a recent slew of changes, the Government, noting a significant shortfall in compliance, seems to have veered away from the aforesaid principle and has decided to implement a far stricter regime.” The Economic Times subsequently reported that the Government won’t go ahead with new CSR rules: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/government-constituted-panel-suggests-making-csr-non-compliance-civil-offence/articleshow/70662585.cms. “The government will not operationalise the new corporate social responsibility (CSR) provisions in the recently amended Companies Act that make violations punishable by jail, following intense lobbying by a panicked India Inc.”

  • ISS has announcesd the Appointment of Debanik Basu as Head of India Research: https://www.issgovernance.com/iss-announces-the-appointment-of-debanik-basu-as-head-of-india-research/. ISS “announced the appointment of Debanik Basu as Head of India Research. He will be based in Mumbai and report to Warren Chen, ISS’ Head of Asia (ex-Japan) Research. Basu, who previously served as Group Head of Research at an India-based proxy advisory firm, will be responsible for supervising the preparation and publication of ISS’ proxy research on publicly traded companies in India.”

  • Glass Lewis has published a post entitled Keeping Tabs On Indian Corporate Governance: https://www.glasslewis.com/keeping-tabs-on-indian-corporate-governance/. “The 2019 India AGM season is well underway. Thus far, two notable items have appeared on the radars for investors. First, existing concerns regarding corporate audits have deepened as the ‘Big Four’ firms appear to have gotten themselves into serious trouble with the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Second, the Securities and Exchange Board of India has issued preliminary decisions on the future of differential voting rights shares.”
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Australia
  • The Australian Financial Review reports that ANZ dumps bonuses for performance dividend: https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/anz-dumps-bonuses-for-performance-dividend-20190805-p52e2z. “ANZ Bank CEO Shayne Elliott will dump bonuses for all employees except its top executives on Tuesday in an acknowledgement of the damage that can be done when staff put profits before people. Under the new regime, individual bonuses will be scrapped and replaced with group performance dividends from October 1. Total compensation will not change because fixed pay will rise while performance-based pay will fall. ANZ’s Shayne Elliott said he the changes should ensure ‘greater clarity’ for employees. Mr Elliott will inform staff on Tuesday morning that replacing bonuses with the new structure was part of recognising that focusing on sales metrics alone had led to poor outcomes for vulnerable consumers.”

  • The ABC reports that the Federal Government reveals timeline to implement its 54 banking royal commission recommendations: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-18/banking-royal-commission-recommendations-implemented-by-2020/11425910. “Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed an ‘implementation road map’ around the 54 recommendations from the financial services royal commission that called for Government action. The final report from commissioner Kenneth Hayne made 76 recommendations, 54 of which were directed at the Government, which has been accused of dragging its feet in response to the commission. In what is described as a ‘full implementation road map’, Mr Frydenberg said more than a third of the Government’s commitments in response to the final report will have been implemented or will have legislation before Parliament by the end of this year. They will include forcing mortgage brokers to act in the best interest of borrowers and removing exemptions for funeral expenses policies so they are subject to consumer protection laws.”
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Africa
South Africa
  • Reuters reports that Old Mutual sacks Moyo again, tries to reassure shareholders: https://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKCN1VC0OG-OZABS. “South African insurer Old Mutual sacked its former chief executive for a second time on Thursday and said it would continue to fight his attempts to get reinstated, despite a court ruling overturning his original dismissal. Old Mutual fired Peter Moyo in June in relation to a conflict of interest, but the High Court ruled last month he should be temporarily reinstated – a decision the insurer is seeking to appeal. In an open letter to shareholders who are growing frustrated with an increasingly messy public battle that has knocked the 173-year-old insurer’s reputation, the company’s board said it would explore all reasonable alternative options but could not have Moyo back at the helm.”

  • The Financial Times reports that Investec hit by shareholder protest over auditors: https://www.ft.com/content/827c517e-c990-36e7-9b34-a0399140a6ba. “Investors also signal their displeasure with the group’s executive pay at AGM.”
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Contact
Daniele Vitale
Georgeson
Corporate Governance Manager > Corporate Advisory
daniele.vitale@georgeson.com
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