by Alana Schetzer for The Sydney Morning Herald
Harvey Norman’s Gerry Harvey is known for being outspoken – whether sharing his views on the evils of online retailing, restrictive workplace laws or corporate governance types who frown on his role as executive chairman of the retailer.
And he’s no less blunt when it comes to the issue of gender equality in corporate Australia – and the chances of it ever being realised.
“We’ve got a campaign here to get 50 per cent women and we’re not achieving it,” he says. “We’re well short.”
Women make up 42 per cent of the retailer’s workforce but just 26per cent of senior executives – although that figure does include a rare female chief executive, KatiePage. Read more here.
by Melissa Tan for The Strait Times
A panel discussion about corporate governance yesterday morning was so heated even the fire alarm went off.
While the latter turned out to be a false alarm, there was plenty of fire in the debate itself, with lawyers locking horns with asset managers and finance experts over whether listed companies should purely aim to maximise returns for shareholders or account for other factors, such as the environment.
One side, led by Professor Lynn Stout of Cornell University Law School in the United States, held that corporations should consider other stakeholders’ interests and should not let themselves be held hostage by investors who may want share prices to rise in the short term at the expense of the long run. Read more here.
by Robin Amlot for CPI Financial
H.E. Hamad Buamim, Chairman of Hawkamah, will welcome the conference participants and H.E. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, will address the audience of the conference in the opening ceremony. H.E. Hamad Buamim said, “Timing of the conference could not have been better as Dubai economy is picking up and more and more investors are moving their investments to Dubai. Corporate Governance is an essential component of investor and shareholder protection, thus a key factor in encouraging foreign direct investment.”
The title of this year’s conference is “Accountability and Long-Term Sustainability”. The issues of accountability, sustainability, board effectiveness, and value creation will be discussed focusing on different types of business organizations. This includes listed companies, family owned businesses, government owned companies, as well as financial institutions. Each of these different types of businesses has its own set of challenges and priorities. Read more here.
by Dylan Loh for Channel NewsAsia
SINGAPORE: Mere legal compliance is not enough if corporate governance standards in the country are to be raised, said the Securities Investors Association of Singapore (SIAS) on Monday (Oct 27).
Speaking at the Singapore Corporate Governance Week’s opening, SIAS Chairman Lim Hwee Hua noted an Asian Development Bank report that highlighted areas local firms can do better in.
For one, it pointed out that Singapore companies can further improve the level of disclosure in Annual General Meeting materials. This applied to more comprehensive documentation of proceedings to better communicate with shareholders as well. Read more here.
PwC’s Investor Resource Institute recently released its 2014 Investor Survey, which analyzes how investors are shaping today’s board governance landscape. With boards prone to more scrutiny as investors increasingly voice their concern, the following trends have emerged:
- Investors are generally happy with the way boards are assessing strategy, with 90% of responding investors expressing satisfaction. In general, investors are also satisfied with the way boards are overseeing risk and maintaining board expertise, both of which received an 84% satisfaction rate.
- Investors want boards with diverse and independent directors who have the right expertise for the job. About 80% of investors consider financial, risk management and operational expertise to be “very important” director attributes. Ninety-six percent of investors say gender diversity on boards is important. Read more here.
The Sun Daily
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has retained its fourth position in the CLSA Ltd (CLSA) Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA) Corporate Governance Watch 2014 Report, with an improved score of 58 points from 55 points previously.
Malaysia was commended as the only market that has consistently improved its scores, which was achieved through a mix of reforms in the Corporate Governance Blueprint, improving enforcement and requiring domestic investors to take corporate governance seriously as well as through the creation of the Audit Oversight Board.
“I’m pleased with this outcome. It is an achievement for Malaysia that will reinforce investor confidence and help to inspire a stronger culture of corporate governance. By providing the right environment and the right stimuli, Bursa Malaysia is committed to playing its part in elevating corporate governance in the country,” Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Tajuddin Atan said in a statement. Read more here.
by Dina Medland for Forbes
Anyone in denial about the growing importance of corporate governance, environmental and social factors in setting the direction of business needs to start talking to investors.Some 90% of institutional investors from across the UK and Europe believe fund managers should price in corporate governance risks as a core part of their investment analysis, alongside financial metrics.
Environmental, social and corporate governance factors (ESG) are becoming increasingly significant for institutional investors, with over two-thirds believing that pension schemes will reject a growing number of investment opportunities over the next five years if they involved ESG risks, according to Hermes InvestmentManagement’s first ‘Responsible Capitalism’ survey. It finds that 79% of respondents consider significant ESG risks with financial implications as sufficient reasons to reject an otherwise attractive investment. As many as 71% believe that company pension schemes will reject more investment opportunities over the next five years due to ESG risk. Read more here.