Corporate tax responsibility: Expectations of institutional investors

Ethos publishes an Engagement Paper that summarizes its five expectations regarding corporate tax responsibility of listed companies. Following recent cases of aggressive tax optimization practices of certain companies, institutional investors consider these practices to be major financial and reputational risks for companies and their shareholders

2018 general meetings of SPI companies : Stabilisation of remuneration

Since the entry into force of the Ordinance against excessive remuneration (the Minder initiative), the different votes on board and executive remuneration are the proposals most contested by the shareholders, which is reflected in a stabilisation of overall remuneration in SPI companies and a slight decrease in the largest listed companies.

New appointments to the chairmanships of Ethos Foundation and Ethos Services

The general meetings of Ethos Foundation and Ethos Services will take place on the 14th of June in Fribourg. These meetings are an important milestone in Ethos’ history. Dr Dominique Biedermann, the last remaining Ethos founding member will not stand for re-election after 21 years of continuous engagement in favour of Ethos’ development. The boards of directors propose to appoint Dr Rudolf Rechsteiner as Chairman of Ethos Foundation and Ms Beth Krasna as Chairwoman of Ethos Services. The boards are convinced that these two personalities will actively contribute to maintaining Ethos’ strong presence as a major institution in the socially responsible investment field in Switzerland. 

Sika: Ethos applauds the agreement that brings an end to the conflict

Ethos is very satisfied that an overall agreement has been signed between the board of directors of Sika, the Burkard family and Saint-Gobain to the benefit of all parties concerned and that safeguards the independence of the company. As an accessory party alongside the board of directors in the legal procedure opposing the company to the Burkard family, Ethos Foundation has always supported the efforts to maintain the independence of Sika. Ethos welcomes the decision of the board of directors to call an extraordinary general meeting on the 11th of June 2018 that will establish the equal treatment of all shareholders.

Ethos proxy voting guidelines 2018: New expectations for the remuneration report

Ethos Foundation publishes the 17th edition of its proxy voting guidelines and corporate governance principles. The 2018 edition specifies the expectations of Ethos for approval of the remuneration reports of listed companies. In particular, Ethos expects companies to increase transparency as to the variable remunerations which were paid out upon vesting of the grants at the end of the performance period.

Ethos study on the 2017 annual general meetings: Increased Contestation

Increase in shareholder opposition in 2017: This is the conclusion of Ethos’ annual study on the general meetings, executive remuneration and corporate governance of companies listed in Switzerland. Overall, 14% of the resolutions received less than 90% support from shareholders, compared to 12% last year. The shareholders were particularly critical when voting on the remuneration of the board and management. In parallel to the publication of its study, Ethos also communicates its expectations for the draft revision of company law which is currently being discussed in Parliament.

Yes to more transparency on consultancy mandates of proxy advisors

SIX Swiss Exchange has launched a consultation on a new provision of its Corporate Governance Directive. The consultation deals with the obligation of listed companies to publish the names of the proxy advisors to whom they have entrusted services other than proxy voting advice. In such a case, the fees paid to these proxy advisors must also be disclosed. Ethos supports this new provision which aims at reigning in conflicts of interest of certain proxy advisors.

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