UK - There is "significant variation" in the voting guidelines given to pension funds and insurers, a survey by Ernst & Young shows.
The accounting giant looked at the flexibility of corporate governance guidelines and how often serious breaches were flagged up.
It analysed advice being given on FTSE100 companies to members of the National Association of Pension Funds and the Association of British Insurers who subscribed to their institutional investor advisory services.The survey found a “significant variation” in the advice on acceptance or rejection of directors’ remuneration policies.
Of the 60 cases where advice was analysed, there were 30 where the investor advisory services suggested different action.
The ABI took a slightly tougher stance identifying 8% of reports as having significant or breach issues in comparison to the NAPF’s 6%. And the ABI flagged 36% with some unresolved concerns compared to the NAPF’s 25%.
However, an NAPF spokesman dismissed the survey as showing “no great difference” and suggested that as the organisations worked differently they were not likely to give the same answers.
He said: “While the ABI flags up issues, we give recommendations and must be sure something is there before recommending for or against.”
ABI spokeswoman Leonie Edwards agreed. She pointed out that issues which breached ABI guidelines were flagged up for members prior to annual general meetings and contact was made with companies to review policies.
She added: “What this survey does show is how effectively our guidelines monitor pay review and we will continue to engage with companies in high profile cases, which have this year included GlaxoSmithKline and Cable & Wireless.”
Ernst & Young said 2003 had been a “learning experience” for shareholders and companies and, while public confidence had been eroded, only a minority of cases were identified as posing significant cause for concern.
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