It has been months since I’ve done a quick look back. In July 2001 I was reporting on Financial information group Thomson Corp. announced it is selling its much-respected proxy vote research arm Institutional Shareholder Services to smaller rival Proxy Monitor. (Warning: most old links are broken: the Internet doesn’t stand still)
The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), representing institutions with some $10 trillion (US) in assets, concluded its seventh annual meeting in Tokyo with a call for regulators to treat global investors equally and for companies to be responsive to the concerns of all shareholders.
Wall Street Journal/NBC found that 36% of respondents (65% of whom were employed) said they have stock options or a financial stake at their place of employment.
In what NCEO calls the “largest and most significant study to date,” Douglas Kruse and Joseph Blasi of Rutgers have found the employee stock ownership plans apppear to increase sales, employment and sales per employee by about 2.3% to 2.4% per year.
In July 2006 I reported on a study by Glass Lewis & Company finds that 1,430 public companies in the United States changed auditors in 2005, a turnover rate of 11.3%. In 72% of the cases, the companies didn’t provide a reason when they notified the SEC of the change, up from 58% percent in 2004.
A study by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the London Business School, looked at 1,300 mutual funds. They separated the funds where the manager owned at least some shares in 2004, and found that they delivered 8.7% in 2005, compared to 6.2% by the funds where managers held no shares.
James McRitchie, publisher of Corpgov.Net and a candidate for the CalPERS Board of Administration, filed a petition with the Office of Administrative Law, seeking a determination by that agency that several regulations enforced by CalPERS concerning the conduct of elections have not been formally adopted, as required by law. These “underground regulations” expose CalPERS members to increased risk from identity theft and provide opportunities for incumbent board members to gain unfair advantages in elections.
According to CFO.com, a 2005 survey of more than 400 financial executives revealed that 55% would delay starting a project with a positive net present value in order to avoid falling short of quarterly consensus earnings.
Outside directors may have spread the idea of backdating options through more than 50 companies under federal investigation for the potentially illegal pay practice, according to a corporate governance research group. The Corporate Library LLC found that the 51 companies had common board members to a greater extent than a randomly chosen control group.