Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Two EC Green Paper snippets

First on my hobby horse of voting disclosure -
In the 2010 Green Paper the Commission also asked whether institutional investors, including asset owners and managers, should be required to publish their voting policies and records. The vast majority of respondents supported such a rule. They thought public disclosure would improve investor awareness, optimise investment decisions by the ultimate investors, facilitate issuers’ dialogue with investors and encourage shareholder engagement. One of the options currently considered by the Commission would therefore be a framework for transparency in voting policies and disclosure of general information about their implementation while respecting the equal treatment of shareholders.
Looks OK, but a 'framework' sounds a bit like the ISC document released in 2007 (another thing btw that the ISC never reported back on despite a commitment to Ed Balls to do so!). Any intervention in this area should be clear that shareholders need to disclose their full record. Otherwise we'll end with lots more of the useless stuff of the type that I highlighted yesterday.

Second, proxy voting agencies (ahem....). If I was at ISS I think I would be a bit concerned by this question:
Do you believe that other (legislative) measures are necessary, e.g. restrictions on the ability of proxy advisors to provide consulting services to investee companies?
Difficult to see many people wanting to go into to bat for a model where you provide advice to both sides.

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