Tuesday 30th June 2015
NEWS TICKER, TUESDAY JUNE 30TH 2015: GVQ Investment Management Limited (GVQIM), a specialist fund manager that applies private equity investment techniques to the public markets, has announced the appointment of Jane Tufnell as non-executive chairman. Tufnell co-founded Ruffer Investment Management Limited, a privately owned fund management group in 1994. She is an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Diverse Income Trust and of the JP Morgan Claverhouse Investment Trust. - Insurance broker and risk advisory firm Willis Group Holdings and professional services group Towers Watson on Tuesday said they had agreed to an all-stock merger that values the combined company at $18bn. Under the deal, which has been approved by both boards, Towers Watson shareholders will get 2.6490 Willis shares for each share held as well as a one-time cash dividend of $4.87 a share. Willis Group shareholders will own 50.1% of the combined group and Towers Watson shareholders will own the rest. The combined company, to be named Willis Towers Watson, will have 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries and revenue of about $8.2bn. Willis Chairman James McCann will be chairman of the combined company and Towers Watson Chairman and Chief Executive John Haley will be its CEO. Willis CEO Dominic Casserley will be president and deputy CEO of the combined company. Its board will consist of six directors from each company. Towers Watson’s chief financial officer, Roger Millay, will be CFO - According to BankingLaw 360, the US Supreme Court has granted an appeal from Merrill Lynch, UBS Securities LLC and other financial institutions over a shareholder suit alleging they engaged in illegal and manipulative “naked” short selling - Roxi Petroleum has reported progress at its flagship BNG asset as it posted an operational update. The Central Asian oil and gas company with a focus on Kazakhstan says that a gross oil-bearing interval of at least 105 metres, from 4,332 metres to 4,437 metres, was found at its Deep Well A5. The well, which was spudded in July 2013, will require specialist equipment for a more comprehensive 30-day core sampling test, but has already began preparatory extraction work Elsewhere, Deep Well 801, spudded in December 2014, is in the production test phase. "Progress at the BNG deep wells can best be described as steady," says chairman Clive Carver. "We look forward to reporting the results of our ongoing work in the near future – Advisory firm Hargreaves Landsdown has reportedly acquired a client book of 7,000 investors with a combined £370m of assets from JP Morgan Asset Management. The book accounts for 6% of JP Morgan’s direct client business and represents clients that hold or plan to continue to invest in non-JP Morgan funds or investment trusts in wrappers other than the JP Morgan ISA. This includes clients with direct equities, gilts or exchange-traded funds, who will be moved the brokers Vantage platform. The sale follows JP Morgan's announcement in January 2014 that it would no longer offer direct clients anything other than JP Morgan funds and investment trusts and that it would close its cash ISA and Sipp. There will be no transfer charge for clients moving to Hargreaves. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed - The OECD will publish Government at a Glance 2015 on Monday July 6th. The biannual report, now in its fourth edition, presents more than 50 indicators to compare governments’ performance in everything from public finances (including government spending per person), cuts to staffing and pay in central government and the level of private asset disclosure by government officials to access to and satisfaction with the healthcare, education and the justice systems This year’s report covers non-OECD countries for some indicators including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine and 36 country factsheets with infographics will be published alongside it. OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi will present the report at OECD Headquarters in Paris at 09:00am - Queensland diversified property group WA Stockwell has closed its $35m bond issue oversubscribed following a strong investor response to the offer, sole lead arranger FIIG Securities has announced. The six year senior secured amortising note issue will pay a fixed rate of interest of 7.75% pa. FIIG CEO Mark Paton says the success of the Stockwell issue confirmed the market appetite, especially among wholesale investors, for credit exposure to quality Australian companies. The Stockwell issue is the fourth that FIIG has sole-arranged for a company in the property and infrastructure sector, following successful issues by ASX-listed property developer Payce Consolidated, infrastructure operator Plenary Group, and ASX-listed property funds manager 360 Capital.

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Policy intervention needed as momentum stalls on ‘sustainability’ says new Aviva Investors’ report

Monday, 18 June 2012
Policy intervention needed as momentum stalls on ‘sustainability’ says new Aviva Investors’ report Trends in Sustainability Disclosure: Benchmarking the World’s Composite Stock Exchanges, a report produced by Aviva Investors in partnership with CK Capital, reveals that while a number of European stock exchanges reflect a high level of integrated sustainability reporting from constituents, only 52 companies out of 4,001 mid large and mega caps around the world engaged in ‘complete’ first generation sustainability disclosure in 2010.  The paper has been prepared for the Sustainable Stock Exchange 2012 Global Dialogue, hosted by UNCTAD in Rio. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Trends in Sustainability Disclosure: Benchmarking the World’s Composite Stock Exchanges, a report produced by Aviva Investors in partnership with CK Capital, reveals that while a number of European stock exchanges reflect a high level of integrated sustainability reporting from constituents, only 52 companies out of 4,001 mid large and mega caps around the world engaged in ‘complete’ first generation sustainability disclosure in 2010.  The paper has been prepared for the Sustainable Stock Exchange 2012 Global Dialogue, hosted by UNCTAD in Rio.

The report says that while the majority of the world’s mid, large and mega-caps engage in some form of first generation sustainability reporting, it is now clear that the proportion of companies voluntarily disclosing each of the first generation indicators is slowing. Steve Waygood, chief responsible investment officer at Aviva Investors, says, “Investors are increasingly demanding sustainability information from companies to inform their broader decision making, deepen the quality of market information available and ultimately the quality of our capital markets, so this decline is cause for concern. Our study shows a clear divergence across exchanges and sectors on the level of disclosure on sustainability issues and growing evidence of a slowdown in the uptake of sustainability reporting practices.  This reflects the lack of a co-ordinated reporting framework.”

“We see a real opportunity for policymakers to step in and define a common set of sustainability indicators. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition launched last month, which represents investors with assets under management of approximately $2trn, is urging all nations at Rio+20 to commit to develop an international policy framework. This framework should look to foster the development of national measures requiring, on a report or explain basis, the integration of material sustainability issues within the corporate reporting cycle of all listed and large private companies.” Doug Morrow, Vice President of Research at CK Capital and lead author of the report, adds: “This study shows that while the majority of the world’s largest companies by market capitalisation report some first generation sustainability indicators, the ‘actionability’ of this data for investors and other stakeholders is constrained by a lack of completeness, standardisation and timeliness.”



The wonder of it all is that with all the problems companies face right now in finding new business opportunities and markets that any investors are insisting on these kinds of constraints.  However, be that as it may, the report ranks the world’s composite stock exchanges* according to the sustainability disclosure practices of their listed companies.  The report investigates disclosure rates and timeliness for a range of seven “first generation” sustainability indicators:  energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, waste, lost time injury rate, payroll costs and employee turnover.

In a ranking of the world’s composite stock exchanges by overall sustainability disclosure, the Netherlands comes out on top, with Denmark (2), Finland (3) Spain (4) and South Africa (5) also in the top five. The Nordic countries rank particularly well with four countries appearing in the top ten. The two emerging market exchanges that score well are South Africa (5) and Brazil (9)**. 

Certain countries are also excelling in disclosure around particular “first generation” indicators with: 

Finland scoring the highest disclosure rate on four of the seven indicators: payroll data (91%), waste (83%), energy (78%) and GHG emissions (52%) South Africa has the fastest growing disclosure rate, ranking first in five of the seven indicators: water, waste, GHG emissions, employee turnover and lost time injury rate

Companies trading in Denmark are the world’s most timely sustainability reporters; 57% of all large companies on the Danish composite with a Q4 2011 financial year end had published 2011 sustainability data by 1 May 2012

Overall, financial companies had the lowest sustainability disclosure of all industries, ranking last on five of the seven indicators; energy, GHG emissions, water consumption, waste and lost time injury rate 

Utility companies came out on top in most indicators and ranked first on disclosure around GHG emissions, water consumption, waste and employee turnover

Regionally, Europe and South East Asia scored highest as being the quickest to market with sustainability data. Waygood concluded: “Markets are driven by information. If the information the market receives is short term, then these characteristics will define the way these markets operate. It is time for regulators to act.”

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