Minerva & Manifest in the News
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Recent Press Releases
European FinTech Leader, Solactive, Makes Strategic Investment in Minerva Analytics
Solactive announces the completion of a strategic investment in Minerva to accelerate growth of the electronic voting, stewardship and ESG research services firm.
Following the deal’s completion, Minerva will build-out its research and client service capability through Solactive’s offices in Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Toronto, while leveraging Solactive’s technological capabilities in the fields of natural language processing to broaden its product suite. Minerva will now be able to offer clients global coverage, 24 hours a day. Solactive will seek to leverage Minerva data in the continued development of its offerings. [more]
Minerva | May 26, 2019
US Proxy Plumbing- Eight Years Later
US Proxy Plumbing: SEC Re-opens Investigations Plans to review proxy plumbing infrastructure “long overdue, but very welcome”. The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced it will re-examine the US proxy voting system. The US securities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, is inviting comments on its proposal and will host a round-table this autumn to..
Minerva| Aug 2, 2018
Securities lending and short selling: What’s a responsible long-term investor to do?
David Crum, Minerva’s MD for Asset Steward Solutions, looks at the recent decision by Japan’s £300bn Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) to halt its stock lending programme. He considers why it’s a big deal in corporate governance terms, what it means for UK pension funds, and what – if anything – they should be doing in response.
“It’s inevitable that the greater focus being placed on sustainable stewardship by long-term institutional investors has turned its gaze to the securities lending function. Some, including myself, would argue that it’s long overdue.
Whilst it will require a significant effort from asset owners to bring about positive changes to the future shape of stock lending arrangements, the day may well come when transparency of ultimate borrower and borrowing purpose can be delivered, and GPIF will return to the securities lending fold.”
Room 151 | February 06, 2020
CEO pay and director re-elections named top issues for shareholder dissent
Proxy advisers Minerva and the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) say that more that a fifth of FTSE 350 companies were confronted with major shareholder dissent, defined as votes of more than 20% opposition, for at least one AGM proposal. That amounts to 68 companies and 126 resolutions in total.
A vote of 20% opposition is considered “significant”, according to the UK Corporate Governance Code. Minerva has argued that a more appropriate level for “significant” would be 10%.
Board Agenda | February 03, 2020
Battle royale: SEC locks horns with investors over proxy advisers
The SEC vote would cap a lengthy fight that has simmered for several years but recently erupted. It pits proxy advisers and many large asset managers against some of America’s biggest companies..
..Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva, a UK-based proxy adviser, said: “It is now down to asset owners and asset managers who take governance seriously to voice their views.”
Financial Times | December 09, 2019
ETFs for ESG: The ESG governance challenge
An increasing number of institutional investors are interested in investments with an environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) focus.
..To tackle the issue, Solactive CEO Steffen Scheuble bought an equity stake in European-based research and proxy firm Minerva this year. Scheuble says Minerva collects data from company disclosures and shareholder meetings, and he can use the data to build enhanced indices and products, including ESG.
IPE: ETFs Guide 2019 | October 11, 2019
TPR moves on climate change
Keeping the world fit for its inhabitants is not something for other people to do, it is our job – all of our jobs. So it is entirely proper for the Pensions Regulator to make the sustainability of our planet’s eco-system part of their regulatory function.
I was sceptical about tPR’s commitment to this until I heard this excellent presentation at Minerva Manifest’s excellent workshop on ESG. The workshop came days before an important report on the changing attitudes of investment managers to Environmental Social and Governance issues.
Henry Tapper Blog | October 1, 2019
All-employee schemes need radical overhaul
…The new median contribution rate at companies that have reduced rates for incumbent executives is 15 percent, according to PwC’s analysis — down from 25 percent, but still way ahead of the 10 percent median rate for most employees. “This is particularly egregious since defined benefit schemes went out,” said Sarah Wilson, ceo of consultancy Minerva Analytics.
The LGC Investment Podcast
This episode was recorded at the LGC Investment and Pensions Summit, which was held at Celtic Manor in South Wales on 5 and 6 September 2019. Dawn Turner, chief executive of Brunel Pension Partnership, and Jeff Houston, secretary to the LGPS Board, discuss key highlights from the event with LGC features editor Martin George.
Topics include collaboration across pools and sustainable investing. The podcast also hears from Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, as she sets the scene on climate change for delegates at the summit.
This podcast is bought to you by Minerva Analytics, the new name for Manifest. Minerva is Europe’s independent provider of global proxy voting, corporate governance & ESG-factor research..
LGG | September 25, 2019
SEC highlights proxy voting rules, guidance amid ESG debate
In a split vote the US regulator has approved guidance about asset managers’ responsibilities when using proxy advisory firms and the rules applicable to them..
Sarah Wilson, chief executive at Minerva Analytics, a UK proxy advisory firm, said the SEC’s guidance “brings asset owners and asset managers back into the equation”. She added: “The whole lobby that was aimed at the SEC from the Chamber of Commerce… you would have imagined that fund managers didn’t exist, by the way that they talked. It was all about shooting the messenger.”
Wilson said the SEC’s guidance was a sign of regulatory harmonisation, in that it reflected the requirements laid out in the revised EU Shareholder Rights Directive (SRD II). “It’s not laid out the same way, but it captures the same issues about fiduciary responsibility, transparency, accuracy,” she said.
IPE | August 23, 2019
Proxy firms group renew self-regulated code of conduct with investor input
A reviewed version of the so-called Best Practice Principles (BPP) for Shareholder Voting Research Providers has been published after a two-year consultation period by the group of five firms that sponsor them link.
..the creation of the first principles in 2014 by the current five signatory members: ISS, Glass Lewis, Minerva (formerly Manifest), PIRC and Proxinvest.
Responsible Investor | July 22, 2019
Proxy advisers agree to greater independent scrutiny | Proxy advisers agree to new standards
Major firms sign up to revised principles and oversight committee
Leading proxy advisers have agreed to a series of updated principles and oversight from a new committee.
Glass Lewis CEO KT Rabin tells Corporate Secretary sister publication IR Magazine: ‘As a founding signatory to the Best Practice Principles [BPP] for Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis Group [BPP Group], launched in 2014, Glass Lewis is pleased to confirm that the revised BPP was updated on Monday, July 22.’
The BPP Group was set up to promote a better understanding of proxy advisers. Its committee comprises representatives from Glass Lewis, ISS, Minerva Analytics, PIRC and Proxinvest.
Solactive expands with strategic investment
Index provider Solactive has made a strategic investment in UK headquartered Minerva, designed to accelerate the growth of the electronic voting, stewardship, and ESG research services firm. Coincidentally, it also has a new Chief of Staff, Roger-Marc Noirot (pictured), who joined Solactive in March.
ETF Express | May 29, 2019
Frankfurt-based index provider Solactive backs UK proxy voting firm
According to Minerva, Solactive made the investment “to support the development of a Europe-based global shareholder voting and stewardship service”.
“At this time of increased regulatory and asset owner scrutiny on shareholder voting and stewardship, we are confident that Solactive will be a strong and trusted partner and we are looking forward to the next stage in Minerva’s development,” it added.
IPE | May 28, 2019
Solactive invests in Minerva Analytics
The deal significantly amplifies Minerva’s global presence.
Index provider Solactive has announced the completion of a strategic investment in European governance and proxy voting firm Minerva Analytics.
ESG Clarity | May 28, 2019
Solactive: Strategic investment in Minerva Analytics
Solactive announces the completion of a strategic investment in Minerva to accelerate the growth of the electronic voting, stewardship, and ESG research services firm.
Minerva CEO Sarah Wilson spent over 20 years in the business of proxy research, during which she has found that clients benefit from bespoke..
ETF Word | May 27, 2019
Index provider Solactive buys stake in UK proxy advisor
The moves adds to a recent flurry of dealmaking among environmental, social and governance specialists
Financial Times | May 26, 2019
MPs tear into fund groups over conflict of interest on pay
Politicians warn high pay in asset management undermines efforts to hold companies to account
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva Analytics, a consultancy that advises shareholders, welcomed the committee’s findings. She said it would increase scrutiny on shareholders who backed lavish pay deals but warned it would be difficult to implement the recommendation that boards should set an absolute cap on total pay.
“That’s very challenging because it would seem to be a wages policy, which is not left open to the market.”
Financial Times | March 28, 2019
MPs urge companies to cap ‘eye-watering’ executive pay
Soaring boardroom salaries and lavish pensions a symbol of ‘corporate greed’
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva Analytics, a consultancy that advises shareholders, said: “CEO pay does not reflect most people’s reality and it’s creating stress. They’ve touched on a very important and sensitive issue for British society.”
But she said it would be difficult to implement the recommendation that boards should set an absolute cap on total pay.
Financial Times | March 26, 2019
Pearson chief executive’s £1.5m bonus pushes up pay 70%
John Fallon qualifies for award for first time after 5 profits warning from 2012-17
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of governance consultancy Minerva Analytics, said remuneration at Pearson “does not meet good practice”. “In terms of aligning executives and ordinary employee it is a very generous pension for someone who is already very generously rewarded” she said.
She added that it did not meet test “shareholders look for in terms of simplicity”
Financial Times | March 25, 2019
Tears in the boardroom at Mahmud Kamani’s Boohoo
Founder Mahmud Kamani isn’t going to let fellow directors stand in his way
“Governance requirements for an AIM company are not as stringent as on the main market, irrespective of the company’s size,” said Sarah Wilson, chief executive of the corporate governance adviser Minerva Analytics. “For a number of investors the governance at Boohoo will raise red flags. The lack of an outside, independent chairman for some shareholders is very unwelcome.”
Financial Times | March 10, 2019
Fund managers to turn up pressure on director remuneration
Commenting on the IA’s move, chief executive of Minerva Sarah Wilson said the company was pleased to note the body’s guidelines had been strengthened.
Wilson said: “Pensions disparity between executives and employees is a long-standing problem. Our remuneration research from the Greenbury era [a 1995 remuneration report] identified potential for abuse and our clients have long had research and voting guidelines aimed at equalising pensions for workers and boards.”
She added that the Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association and the Trades Union Congress introduced similar policy recommendations in 2010.
IPE | February 21, 2019
Almost 40 per cent of UK chairmen face pressure to unseat them
Among the FTSE 350, there are 110 companies that are already non-compliant with the tenure provision, and 137 have chairs who have served on the board for more than eight years, according to Minerva Analytics, a governance consultancy formerly known as Manifest.
Financial Times | February 18, 2019
Investors should fire directors who fail to act on climate change
A surge of shareholder resolutions at AGMs shows they are not happy
…In the past five years, only one UK or US energy company — Nabors Industries — has seen directors voted off the board, according to Minerva Analytics. Normally, directors in this sector receive more than 95 per cent support.
… The Minerva data show that, in the five years to 2018, only one auditor in the UK’s energy sector had higher than a 5 per cent vote against it: EY at Shell in 2016. In the US, no auditors had more than a 5 per cent vote against them.
Financial Times | January 29, 2019
Revealed: most ESG-friendly asset managers
Sarah Wilson, CEO of Minerva Analytics, the independent stewardship support service, says: “There is now a race in fund managers committing to show their credentials on sustainability.”
Ms Wilson says: “[Asset managers] have often struggled with ESG as a concept when maximising shareholder returns has traditionally been more important. But now firms are thinking about holistic returns.”
Ignites Europe | November 26, 2018
Voting advice on CEO pay is usually ignored by big asset managers
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva, a UK proxy adviser, said the evidence from the roundtable discredited suggestions that the proxy advice industry needed to be reformed.
Financial Times | November 18, 2018
Big two proxy advisers face glare of SEC scrutiny
Glass Lewis and ISS in the spotlight amid accusations they wield too much influence
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva, a UK-based proxy adviser, says improvements are needed in the shareholder voting process but she argues that this reform should centre on the plumbing — or how shareholders can use their votes — rather than the advice they receive. She says companies lobbying against proxy advisers fear greater shareholder attention. “They expect every vote to be in favour of management and don’t want any scrutiny at all. [The current pushback against proxy advice] is an attack on ideas,” she says.
Financial Times | November 12, 2018
Global Strategies: Shouldering responsibility
“You’re now seeing a new generation of investment analysts who are actually saying these are not extra financial factors, they are factors which do drive financial issues, but you might not see them in the immediate next two quarters,” says Sarah Wilson, chief executive of voting services group Minerva Analytics.
Funds Europe| October 3, 2018
Top CEO salary rises far outstripping their employees
Employee morale could be damaged by the ever-growing paychecks of top bosses, as bosses’ salaries continue to grow at a much faster rate than their employees’ pay. 2017 data from stewardship service Minerva Analytics revealed that the CEOs of the UK’s biggest listed companies were on average awarded an 11% pay increase. However, their workers received a…
HR Grapevine | September 24, 2018
Premier Foods chief narrowly survives AGM ouster attempt
“UK boards can normally expect levels of support in the high 90s. A negative vote of over 40 per cent reveals a disturbing gulf in expectations”, Sarah Wilson, Minerva Analytics.
In the past decade, only three other chief executives have had more than 40 per cent of votes cast against their re-election, according to Minerva Analytics, the voting services group.
Financial Times | June 19, 2018
A trio of influential shareholder advisers have called on UK politicians to mount a fresh crackdown on FTSE bosses’ bonus schemes and to boost the role of retail investors in corporate governance.
Institutional Shareholder Services, the largest and most influential of the firms, its US counterpart Glass Lewis, and UK agency Minerva Analytics — previously known as Manifest — offered submissions to a UK Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee that is looking into the issue. Continue reading >>
Financial Times | June 6, 2018
Minerva gives evidence to UK parliament on corporate governance: More >>
Parliamentlive | June 6, 2018
UK company chiefs awarded bumper pay rises in 2017
“The Minerva research found that the median figure for CEO pay rises in 2017 stood at 6 per cent during 2017.”
Financial Times | June 1, 2018
“The combination of the binding vote and focus on engagement is having a positive effect,” said Sarah Wilson, chief executive of Minerva. “Contrary to initial concerns about damaging returns, the binding vote has created a much stronger connection between boards and shareholders, which can only be good.”“Businesses that pay excessive salaries to senior executives represent the “unacceptable face of capitalism”, Prime Minister Theresa May has said. Sarah Wilson is chief executive of the shareholder group Manifest and Andrew Ninian is the head of Corporate Governance at the Investment Association.” (podcast: 1:13:12/ 3:02:59)
BBC Radio 4 | August 28, 2017
FTSE companies avoid shareholder wrath on pay at AGMs
Concessions on executive remuneration result in fewer large protest votes than a year ago. Ahead of this year’s shareholder meeting season, investors predicted … Shareholders pay revolts in the UK, FTSE 350 companies 2013-17, percent of investor who dissented includes those who voted against and abstentions by shareholders (Source: Manifest’s data and comment) …
Financial Times | May 12, 2017
Boardroom excess? British companies stick with bonus plans despite criticism
Analysis by Reuters of company annual reports and data from governance advisory firm Manifest shows 59 members of the FTSE 100. FTSE blue-chip stock index recently updated their remuneration policy or plan to soon, of which 56 currently use or plan to continue using LTIPs.
Reuters | April 13, 2017
Sky Shareholders Protest James Murdoch’s Return as Chairman
“Excluding votes representing Murdoch interests, about 51 percent were against James Murdoch’s re-election, according to Manifest, a London-based proxy voting agency that has raised governance concerns about his role.”
Bloomberg | October 13, 2016
Analysis: Will Sports Direct’s shake-up soothe disgruntled investors?
A big question mark remains over Sports Direct’s corporate governance. As its chief executive, can Mike Ashley really convince investors the company will be run in a different way? One shareholder advisory group has already expressed its concern. “Shareholders really want to see that Mike is willing and able to take independent advice,” says Manifest founder and chief executive, Sarah Wilson.
Retail Week | September 23, 2016
Legal & General warns firms over bonuses and pay
Sarah Wilson, chief executive of shareholder advisory body Manifest, said LGIM was addressing how much the chief executive is paid relative to the ……..
The Guardian | September 16, 2016
Theresa May’s executive pay plans meet further scepticism
Doubts over effectiveness of boosting investor powers on tackling high pay awards
Financial Times | October 9, 2016Last Updated: 29 May 2019