ASX writes 30% gender target into governance guidelines
The ASX Corporate Governance Council has proposed new requirements for the nation’s top 300 listed companies to have boards where at least 30% of members are women. It will take just 114 directorships to meet this proposed new requirement.
The ASX is moving to strengthen governance rules to ensure companies and their boards and senior executives act in a lawful, ethical and socially responsible way.
The listing body’s corporate governance council is revamping its recommendations for Australia’s biggest companies to include key issues, including excessive pay and social responsibility, now being investigated by the financial services royal commission.
These include a social licence to serve the wider community as well as shareholders, corporate values and culture, whistle blower rules, and anti-bribery and corruption policies.
The review of governance is designed to set the tone from the top of a company and to ensure that the board of directors is provided with the information needed to monitor culture.
Things to consider for end of life transition no matter your age
DID YOU KNOW?
- 75% of us have not had end of life discussions
- 60% think we don’t talk about death enough
- Over 70% of us die in hospital though most of us would prefer to die at home
- Very few of us die with an advance care plan (less than 10 percent)
We should be Encourage to:
- make our end of life plans such as a will and advance care plans
- share these wishes with families
- get informed about end of life and death care options such as dying at home, home and community led funerals and natural burial
- be better equipped to support family and friends experiencing death, dying and bereavement
This checklist from Dying to Know Day will encourage us all to take action toward end of life planning.
Aknowledment to: The GroundSwell Project
Our adviser Karen McLeod’s The Australian Article
Ethical_Invest ‘s Karen McLeod speaks to The Australian on why ethical investments are doing so well: “how companies are viewed by the community, other stakeholders, how they treat their customers & the diversity on their boards- that speaks volumes about a company”
Has the Banking Royal Commission proved there are ethical investors and unethical investors?
The banking sector needs to figure out how they align their values and understand what their customers actually want. The Responsible Investment Association has surveyed consumers and they expect super and other investments to be invested responsibly. They don’t want their CEO to be unfairly renumerated or doing things that are illegal. When banks and other financial institutions align their values with their customers, people may start trusting them again.
Some ethical ETFs have already dropped bank stocks. Is there is a case for taking banks and insurers off ethical investment lists?
We always look to write either a letter to the board, or a resolution at an AGM. And if nothing comes of that, divesting that stock. We’re about supporting or rewarding companies that do the right thing. We’re looking at how banks are responding to the commission, who is doing the right thing, and why are they doing it.
Can ethical investing make money?
The returns have been quite strong and been outperforming the average mainstream counterparts year on year. In 2017, the benchmark report showed that these funds had been outperforming competitors over three, five, and 10-year horizons. Responsible investment is not something that’s new. It’s something that’s been consistently setting ethical funds apart.
So you are saying that you are all doing well?
The reason for that is we know the companies we’re investing in so much better. We’re not just looking at a set of numbers. We’re looking at how they’re viewed by the community, how other stakeholders view them, how they treat their customers and what the diversity is like on their boards. And how they respond to questions — that speaks volumes about a company.
Tell us about your main fund.
We’ve run a mid-cap model portfolio for roughly four years which is fossil free, and we deliberately have a positive screen on that fund. We’re looking at companies that do good in the world as well as excluding all the obvious things. And it’s done 8.29 per cent since inception, as about July 30. For the past 12 months, it’s done 5.94 per cent. And for three years, it’s done 6.96 per cent. If there’s anything there that clients don’t like, we can exclude them from it. It’s only happened once or twice, but we want customers to know they have that freedom. Listening to clients is something the financial sector clearly needs to do more of.
What was your first big investment?
Starting this business I suppose, about 13 years ago, and just understanding that I could break away from traditional financial services. I’d encourage advisers who consider moving into ethical investment to do it. There’s better work-life balance and there’s great satisfaction in influencing and changing things like water scarcity and energy efficiency. It’s unbelievably rewarding.
Market Forces speaks on Climate Change Action & Super Funds
The vast majority of Australians care about climate change and environmental protection. These issues have been prominent enough to influence the way millions of us have voted over the past decade.
But while we rarely get to the ballot box, dozens of other important votes happen on climate change each and every year. These votes are made on behalf of you and me and, frustratingly, most oppose climate change action. Just ask your super fund.
Our collective retirement savings give super funds significant stakes in Australian and international companies. With those investments comes the right to vote on corporate matters such as the election of directors, executive remuneration, or other resolutions put forward by the board and shareholders.
Yet, when opportunities arise for super funds to support greater action from companies on climate change, more often than not they vote against it on behalf of their members.
Market Forces recently examined 497 votes by Australia’s 50 largest super funds on resolutions that would have improved corporate disclosure of, or resilience to, climate change risks.
Only 40% of votes were in favour and most of these were cast by just five asset owners: HESTA, Vision Super, Local Government Super, Mercer and Mine Super.
Super funds are supposed to act in the best interests of their members. Voting against climate change action exposes us to its risks, which APRA describes as distinctly financial in nature, while helping to drive climate change itself. How is that supposed to be in our best interest? You’ll have to ask your super fund.
Read the full article: The Age
Link : Rio Tinto’s climate change resolution marks a significant shift in investor culture.