”Global and Regional Trends in Corporate Governance for 2017” by Russell Reynolds Associates

”Russell Reynolds Associates recently interviewed numerous institutional and activist investors, pension fund managers, public company directors and other governance professionals about the trends and challenges that public company boards will face in 2017. Our conversations yielded a wide array of perspectives about the forces that are driving change in the corporate governance landscape.

”OECD Survey of Corporate Governance Framework in Asia”

”The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recently released a report of a survey that was conducted based on the responses to a questionnaire on corporate governance frameworks that was disseminated to partner organisations in the 14 participating Asian jurisdictions in May 2016. These included Bangladesh, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The survey which is a useful document to all stakeholders that are working towards  corporate governance reforms in the region is a reflection of current status of practices and standards. Role of stakeholders, disclosure of related parties, shareholder rights, board and ownerships structures are some of the key areas highlighted.”

Read the  full report here.

Glass Ceilings or Sticky Floors? An analysis of the gender wage gap across the wage distribution in Japan, by HARA Hiromi (Japan Women’s University)

Abstract

This study examines the gender wage gap across the wage distribution in Japan using large sample data for 1990, 2000, and 2014. The results of the Firpo-Fortin-Lemieux decomposition show that the part of the observed gender gap that is not explained by gender differences in human capital is larger at the top and at the bottom of the wage distribution, indicating that both a glass ceiling and a sticky floor exist for women in the Japanese labor market…….

”Abenomics & Inclusive Growth” by Aoyagi Chie and Giovanni Ganelli

”In the last few years, policy makers in Japan have embarked on an ambitious effort to decisively get the economy out of deflation and revive growth. This policy approach, which has been dubbed “Abenomics” after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, comprises three so-called “arrows”, namely monetary policy, fiscal policy, and growth enhancing structural reforms. In this article, we seek to evaluate the effects of Abenomics’ reforms in terms of inclusiveness. Inclusive growth is a multidimensional concept and the notion has varying definitions, interpretations and connotations. To study the degree of inclusiveness of the Japanese economy, we will first review trends in equity, and then refer to econometric studies attempting to assess how implementation of Abenomics is expected to affect inclusive growth…..”.

Read full article here.

Paper by Naoto Isaka – When Are Uninformed Boards Preferable?

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the optimal choice of board of directors using the dual role model of boards in Adams and Ferreira (2007). In my model, shareholders choose either an informed board that brings additional private information to the firm or an uninformed board that merely considers the inside information already available within the firm. The board then randomly chooses a good chief executive officer (CEO) with inside information or a bad CEO without such information, and the CEO decides whether to consult with the board when making a project decision. I show that shareholders generally choose the informed board to maximize firm value by utilizing the private information available to the board. However, the shareholders optimally select the uninformed board if the CEO is reluctant to communicate with the informed board for fear it will reject the CEO’s decision. The uninformed board is also optimal when the board has a sufficiently large private benefit of monitoring the CEO, the shareholders feel burdened by any conflict between the CEO and the board, or the firm is involved in many unrelated businesses, especially when the inside information is valuable and the firm needs many outsiders to observe useful outside information. I use some of these implications and casual observation of real-world data to discuss recent trends in the board structure of Japanese firms.

”Thoughts on the Business Roundtable’s Principles of Corporate Governance”

Following the release of the ”Commonsence Principles of Corporate Governance ”  by a diverse, twelve-member coalition of executives of major corporations, asset managers and one shareholder activist in America in July 2016, the influential Business Roundtable (“BRT”) recently released a set of corporate governance principles which are to provide guidance on governance disclosure.

Whereas the Commonsence Principles of Corporate Governance are mainly 8 recommendations on roles and responsibilities of the board, companies and shareholders, the BRT Principles extensively cover the key governance issues such as board responsibilities, roles of key corporate actors, committee responsibilities and other, elemental, governance concerns historically addressed by the organization.

In his article, Michael W. Peregrine, of McDermott Will & Emery LLP shares his thoughts on the BRT Principles that articulate these governance issues on  long term value sustainability, shareholder engagement, board diversity, committee practices and succession matters.

Read full article here.

Source: Havard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation

Principles of Corporate Governance 2016 by the Business Roundtable

”Foreword and Introduction

Business Roundtable has been recognized for decades as an authoritative voice on matters affecting American business corporations and meaningful and effective corporate governance practices. Since Business Roundtable last updated Principles of Corporate Governance in 2012, U.S. public companies have continued to adapt and refine their governance practices within the framework of evolving laws and stock exchange rules. Business Roundtable CEOs continue to believe that the United States has the best corporate governance, financial reporting and securities markets systems in the world. These systems work because they give public companies not only a framework of laws and regulations that establish minimum requirements but also the flexibility to implement customized practices that suit the companies’ needs and to modify those practices in light of changing conditions and standards.

”The Rise of the Independent Director: A Historical and Comparative Perspective” by Harald Baum

Abstract:  The paper provides a historical analysis of the rise of the independent director in the US and the UK. These two jurisdictions are commonly credited with creating the concept of the independent director and exporting it around the world. In the first half of the twentieth century, a managerialist model of corporate governance dominated in the US. Inside directors, chosen and controlled by the CEO, dominated corporate boards. The concept of the independent director and the related model of the ‘monitoring board’ appeared only in the 1970s. Two watershed events sparked this dramatic change: First, the sudden collapse of the major railway company Penn Central in 1970; and second, Eisenberg’s influential book ‘The Structure of the Corporation’, published in 1976. According to Eisenberg, the board’s essential function was to monitor the company’s management by being independent from it. Today the reliance on independent directors as a panacea for various corporate governance ills has reached its zenith in the US. As in the US, the typical British board of the 1950s was an advisory board dominated by insiders. It was only in the 1990s, with the beginning of the British corporate governance movement subsequent to the publication of the Cadbury Report, that the concept of independent directors was embraced in the UK. Since the early 2000s independent directors have dominated on the boards of listed companies. From the UK, the concept of the independent director started to conquer the European Union as a fundamental corporate governance principle. The European Model Company Act of 2015 and, on the supra-national level, the OECD Principles of Corporate Governance of 2015 recommend assigning important tasks to independent board members. The empirical support for staffing boards with independent directors, however, remains surprisingly shaky given the ubiquitous reliance on independent directors. The global financial crisis of 2008 has added further doubts.

Read full research paper here. 

”Boards in Europe – Accountability and Convergence” by Paul L. Davies Klaus J. Hopt

Abstract: Corporate boards play a central role in corporate governance and therefore are regulated in the corporate law and corporate governance codes of all industrialized countries. Yet while there is a common core of rules on the boards, considerable differences remain, not only in detail, but sometimes also as to main issues. These differences depend partly on shareholder structure (dispersed or blockholding), partly on path dependent historical, political and social developments, especially employee representation on the board. More recently, in particular with the rise of the international corporate governance code movement there is a clear tendency towards convergence, at least in terms of the formal provisions of the codes. This article analyses the corporate boards, their regulation in law and codes and their actual functioning in nine European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) in a functional and comparative method. Issues dealt with are inter alia board structure, composition and functioning (one tier v. two tier, independent directors, expertise and diversity, separating the chair and the CEO functions, information streams, committees, voting and employee representation) and enforcement by liability rules (in particular conflicts of interest), incentive structures (remuneration) and shareholder activism. The article finds convergence in these European countries due to the pressures of competition, a pro-shareholder change supported by government and institutional investors and, to a certain degree, the impact of the EU. This convergence shows more in the codes and the ensuing practice than in the statutes. On the other side considerable differences remain, in particular as a result of the failure to adopt a mandatory „no frustration“ rule for takeovers at EU level and diverging systems of labor codetermination. The result is an unstable balance between convergence and divergence, shareholder and stakeholder influence and European v. national rulemaking.

Read full working paper here.

Paula Loop & Paul Denicola: ”Investors and Board Composition”

”In today’s business environment, companies face numerous challenges that can impact success—from emerging technologies to changing regulatory requirements and cybersecurity concerns. As a result, the expertise, experience, and diversity of perspective in the boardroom play a more critical role than ever in ensuring effective oversight. At the same time, many investors and other stakeholders are seeking influence on board composition. They want more information about a company’s director nominees. They also want to know that boards and their nominating and governance committees are appropriately considering director tenure, board diversity and the results of board self-evaluations when making director nominations. All of this is occurring within an environment of aggressive shareholder activism, in which board composition often becomes a central focus………”