Business Minister Jo Swinson outlined the Coalition’s rationale for the reforms when the regulations were laid before Parliament earlier this year: “In order for shareholders to fully hold a company to account they need to have the right information to hand. Annual reports are a key tool for shareholders to get a good understanding as to how a company is performing, but they need to be produced in an open and transparent way.
“This helps build the trust and confidence that shareholders, and the wider public, need to have in our top companies. By including additional information on human rights, gender representation and greenhouse gases, these changes can only strengthen that level of trust.”
The UK is not the only market keen to improve corporate reporting and shareholder understanding. The European Commission has also brought forward proposed reforms to non-financial reporting which will require listed companies to report on material environmental, social and employee issues, along with their approach to human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters.
Narrative reporting isn’t just about companies being forced to reveal more about their conduct, there is increasing and robust evidence that the way management addresses these non-financial factors can significantly impact a company’s long-term value. As a result, long-term shareholders are keen to understand how management is addressing the “extra-financial” challenge in order to support investment and stewardship decisions.
In anticipation of the new regulations, for the past year Manifest has been running a project, “Say on Sustainability”, to analyse global corporate reports and narrative reporting regulations to discover the impact of voluntary and regulatory approaches to better reporting and what problems investors still face in getting high quality, timely data. The results of the project will be revealed at a briefing kindly hosted by the NAPF on Thursday, 3rd October. We have assembled a distinguished and experienced panel including Adeline Diab
, Head of Responsible Investment Integration at Aviva Investors, Roger Urwin
, Global Head of Investment Content at Towers Watson with David Pitt-Watson, formerly of Hermes and now co-chair of UNEPFI
as our moderator.
Investors, asset owners and quoted companies alike are encouraged to attend. Proxy Season 2014 represents a step change in the regulatory reporting sphere with two major regulatory changes at once: narrative reporting and a binding say on pay. We are sure everyone will leave the meeting with many new insights, plenty of food for thought and action points for next steps to make the transition to the new environment as smooth as possible.
Last Updated: 18 September 2013