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Georgeson Monthly Roundup - February 2021
north america
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Latest Georgeson publications

Georgeson publishes a report on BlackRock Updates 2021 Proxy Voting Guidelines 

In December 2020, BlackRock released its 2021 U.S. proxy voting guidelines, along with updated global principles that outline its 2021 stewardship expectations. Key changes to its U.S. proxy voting guidelines are discussed in the recent Georgeson report.

Read the full report here.

Georgeson memo on executive remuneration & the COVID-19 pandemic: executive remuneration has always been a topic of focus among institutional investors, proxy advisors and other shareholder-led organizations. In the context of the socio-economic and health crisis we are experiencing, the issue continues to be a pressing one in corporate governance circles in Europe and UK.

If you would like to receive a copy of the memo, please email daniele.vitale@georgeson.com.

In the media
Reuters article on Show us the plan: Investors push companies to come clean on climate

Georgeson's Daniele Vitale was featured in Reuters' article "Show us the plan: Investors push companies to come clean on climate". Daniele Vitale is quoted saying “The demands for increased disclosure and target-setting are much more pointed than they were in 2020,” said Daniele Vitale, the London-based head of governance for Georgeson, which advises corporations on shareholder views.”

Read the full article here.
Shareholder Activism
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  • The Financial Times reports that ESG investment favours tax-avoiding tech companies: https://www.ft.com/content/486afe00-5347-4f23-ab30-fb2ab901b2cb “The huge rise in environmental, social and governance-based investing is funnelling money into companies that pay less tax and provide fewer jobs than many counterparts with lower ESG ratings, analysis shows.”
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Pan-European developments
  • Pensions Age reports that it is a historic day for UK pensions industry as Pension Schemes Bill gains Royal Assent: https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/
    “The Pensions Schemes Bill has officially been granted Royal Assent and is now the Pensions Schemes Act, in what has been highlighted as a “historic day” for the UK pensions industry. The act aims to help bolster protections for savers through the introduction of new powers to help trustees combat pension scams and the expansion of The Pension Regulator’s powers. In addition to this, the bill introduces the framework for the introduction of pensions dashboards and collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes, as well as furthering the government’s green agenda, by requiring schemes to adopt and report against the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).”
  • Reuters reports that investors warn CEOs on pay and perks ahead of UK AGM season: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-agm-pay-focus-idUSKBN2AC142 “Companies have to walk a very fine line (in terms of) variable compensation given that, of course, executives will have worked very, very, very hard in 2020, but maybe the results and the performance ... do not reflect that.”
  • The House of Representatives approves legislative proposal for "gradual quota" for one third female supervisory/non-executive directors: https://www.eerstekamer.nl/behandeling/20210211/gewijzigd_voorstel_van_wet/
    . In case one third of the directors does not belong to the less represented gender, appointments of directors of the over represented gender will be null and void. A supervisory/non-executive director of the over represented gender, who is eligible for reappointment, can still be reappointed if the reappointment takes place within eight years after the year of the initial appointment. Additionally, in case of “exceptional circumstances” a director of the over represented gender may be elected for two years. The bill has now been sent to the Senate.

  • Il Sole 24 Ore reports that TIM has published its slate for the renewal of the board: https://www.ilsole24ore.com/radiocor/nRC_23.02.2021_19.35_67310673 (in Italian) “Board’s of TIM unanimously approved the slate of candidates for the renewal of the board that shareholders will have to approve on March 31st . those confirmed are: Salvatore Rossi, Luigi Gubitosi, Marella Moretti, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Franck Cadoret and Paola Bonomo.  New entries  are the chair of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Giovanni Gorno Tempini, Luca De Meo, Cristiana Falcone and Ilaria Romagnoli.”
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North America
United States
  • State Street Global Advisors provides guidance on enhancing racial & ethnic diversity disclosures: https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2021/02/22/guidance-on-enhancing-
    “At State Street Global Advisors, we believe that companies have a responsibility to effectively manage and disclose risks and opportunities related to racial and ethnic diversity. […] We have expanded our firm’s longstanding focus on gender diversity to include race and ethnicity, and this essential dimension of ESG risk management will be a priority for our Asset Stewardship team in 2021. What follows is an overview of what to expect from us on this topic.”
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  • The Japan Times reports that Japan's green growth plan propels firms to sharpen environment focus: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/business/
    “With Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledging to bring Japan’s carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050, a growing number of Japanese companies are looking at how they can make a bigger contribution to curbing global warming.”
Hong Kong
  • South China Morning Post reports that the world’s biggest asset manager, BlackRock’s chairman and CEO said it would vote against directors at companies who are not moving fast enough to address climate-related risks: https://www.scmp.com/business/banking-finance/article/3119328/blackrock-
    ” With US$8.7 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock also said it would incorporate climate considerations into its capital markets assumptions and introduce investment products tied to temperature alignment goals, such as “net zero” carbon emissions.”
  • Bloomberg reports that Asian companies had the majority of the ESG flow of fund in 2020.: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-22/esg-magnates-pour-
    “The emergence of Asia, led by China, as the economic power house of the post-Covid world has just entered another dimension: ESG dominance. The world’s second-largest economy and its Asian peers cornered 75 cents out of each dollar of capital invested in 2020 across emerging-market stocks compliant with environmental, social and governance norms, according to EPFR Global data.”
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Daniele Vitale
Head of Governance UK & Europe > Corporate Advisory
T +44 (0)20 7019 7034 M +44 (0)7747 697 136 F +44 (0)870 702 0158
Moor House, 120 London Wall, London EC2Y 5ET, United Kingdom

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