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New opportunities for European businesses, affordable energy bills for consumers, increased energy security through a significant reduction of natural gas imports and a positive impact on the environment: these are some of the expected benefits of the energy efficiency target for 2030 put forward today by the European Commission in a Communication. The proposed target of 30 % builds on the achievements already reached: new buildings use half the energy they did in the 1980s and industry is about 19% less energy intensive than in 2001. The proposed target goes beyond the 25% energy savings target which would be required to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030. At the same time the framework on energy efficiency put forward today aims to strike the right balance between benefits and costs - The California Pension Fund (CalPERS) has told the American press that it might cutting back on its investments into the hedge fund arena by as much as 40%. A CalPERS spokesman told papers that the investment staff will make a formal recommendation to the board in the fall. CalPERS reported a preliminary 18.4% return on investments for the 12 months that ended June 30th this year. CalPERS’ assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $300bn - The number of funds notifying the Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) of their intention to privately place into Europe under AIFMD rules broke through the 150 mark ahead of the end of the AIFMD transitional phase this week. The JFSC figures show that, as at 22 July, a total of 164 funds had opted to make use of Jersey’s private placement route into Europe, and that the UK was the top intended market for managers, followed by Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands - Vodafone Group’s debt rating was cut one level at Moody’s Investors Service after the carrier made multibillion-dollar acquisitions to expand in Spain and Germany. The second-largest wireless company’s senior unsecured debt was cut to Baa1, the third-lowest investment grade, from A3, says Moody. The outlook is stable. Newbury, England-based Vodafone reported net debt of £13.7bn ($23.3bn) for the quarter ended March 31st. It is the first time Moody’s has given Vodafone a rating lower than A3 since 2007. Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings rank Vodafone’s debt at A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade. Vodafone’s acquisition of cable operators in Europe and falling revenue in some of its biggest markets contributed to the cut, Moody’s said - In a separate report issued this week, Moody's says the stable outlook on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Aaa rating reflects the bank's conservative capital and liquidity practices, which should support its solid financial performances despite the challenging operating environment. The rating agency's report is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action. Moody's also notes that the bank benefits from very high liquidity, owing to its prudent treasury management policies, favourable debt structure and strong market access.

UK government shifts policy on executive pay

Wednesday, 20 June 2012
UK government shifts policy on executive pay Following its industry consultation, ‘Executive Pay Consultation on Enhanced Shareholder Voting Rights’, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has decided on a three year binding vote on future executive remuneration policy, including pay and exit pay. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

Following its industry consultation, ‘Executive Pay Consultation on Enhanced Shareholder Voting Rights’, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has decided on a three year binding vote on future executive remuneration policy, including pay and exit pay.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has decided on a three year binding vote on future executive remuneration policy, including pay and exit pay.By making the binding vote on the remuneration policy effective for three years,  the government hopes to encourage greater dialogue on executive remunertaion between companies and shareholders. It should also encourage companies to adopt a longer term and transparent approach to their executives' pay.

This package of reforms will address failures in corporate governance by empowering shareholders to engage effectively with companies on pay. It will:

  • Give shareholders binding votes on pay policy and exit payments, so they can hold companies to account and prevent rewards for failure
  • Boost transparency so that what people are paid is easily understood and the link between pay and performance is clearly drawn
  • Ensure that reform has a lasting impact by empowering business and investors to maintain recent activism.

Business Secretary Vince Cable explains that: “At a time when the global economy remains fragile, it is neither sustainable nor justifiable to see directors’ pay rising at 10 per cent a year, while the performance of listed companies lags behind and many employees are having their pay cut or frozen.

“In January we kicked off a national debate aimed at encouraging shareholders to become more actively engaged as company owners in better aligning directors’ pay with performance. I have been greatly encouraged by the ‘shareholder spring’ and I want to see that momentum sustained. That is why I am bringing forward legislation to strengthen the powers of shareholders through a binding vote on pay,," he adds.

The government’s reforms will provide shareholders with new powers to hold companies to account, while making it easier to understand what directors are earning and how it links to company performance.

The current advisory vote gives shareholders a mechanism to register their dissatisfaction with a company’s remuneration report. “In practice, however, there has been too much reliance on investment managers to ensure consistent oversight of portfolio companies on corporate governance issues such as pay” says Aled Jones, senior consultant in Mercer’s Investments business. “Trustees need to adopt a more proactive stance by regularly monitoring their managers on how they raise strategic issues such as remuneration in their interactions with company directors. Ultimately this is about the effectiveness of board processes. Where these processes are not successful – such as when pay proposals are voted down; it is shareholders’ responsibility to understand what went wrong and take action.

The government will introduce the reforms through amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which is currently before Parliament.

Revised, simplified regulations setting out how companies must report directors’ pay will be published at the same time. There will be a chance to comment on these regulations before they become law.

The government intends all these reforms to be enacted by October 2013.

 

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